Children’s brains have not formed until well into their teenage years, so they are not mature enough to acquire the intent for full criminal responsibility under the age 16, CLA argues in its submission to the national working group preparing advice for all Attorneys-General on the age of criminal responsibility. CLA also believes that no child under 16 should be detained in a jail-like setting, and mandatory sentencing should be abandoned by all jurisdictions for children under 16.
The governments’ proposed Religious Freedom laws would legitimise discrimination in the name of religion, undermine states’ rights, discriminate against non-believers, and generally make employment provisions in the health and education sector a minefield for anyone other than highly-qualified lawyers. As well, the laws would further entrench tax breaks for organisations that don’t provide the services to earn them. The government can do much better: a fundamental redrafting of the proposals is needed, CLA says.
The Queensland Productivity Commission has delivered its seminal report on the state of jails in that state but in reality standing for all Australian jails. Their recommendations provide a blueprint for saving taxpayers money, ending a massive jail-building program over the next decade, and seriously reducing the number of people in prison. Will our fearful governments have the courage to take positive action to achieve a better system delivering better justice?
For all those politicians (and the media) who posture at being “tough on crime” and who bring in mandatory sentences to appear to be “smart” legislators telling magistrates and judges how to make decisions and pass sentences, hear this plea from a real live criminal lawyer dealing with the consequences of such irresponsible political action in the Northern Territory…
Philip Gaetjens, head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, is the wrong person to hold the fate of alleged ’sports rorts’ minister Bridget McKenzie in his hands. PM Scott Morrison should be deciding whether his minister met his ministerial standards. And he should do so quickly, and then act decisively. The fiasco has run too long already
A Federal Court judge, tucked away during a hearing in the never-time of Christmas Eve, has lambasted Minister Dutton’s Immigration Department proposals for how to handle a refugee’s visa application as ‘absurd’ and ‘ridiculous’. Castigating the government, he has ordered a prompt decision by Dutton in a case where Australia has mentally tortured a Sri Lankan for nigh on a decade, including by using ’secret evidence’ against him.
France’s Yellow Vesters will carry a message from the heart of Australia, Alice Springs, all the way to Julian Assange in Belmarsh jail in England. Assange is in jail for ‘jumping bail’ and hiding out at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London…but the USA wants to extradite him to a possible death sentence in American courts. The Alice rally is on 25 January at 4.30pm. Other rallies are being held nationally and internationally. More rallies are scheduled for late February, as Assange’s court hearing begins.
A vigil outside Parliament House Hobart on Saturday 25 Jan 2020 from 11-1pm will remember Bob Chappell, who disappeared overnight on Australia Day 2009. No body has been found. His wife of 18 years, Sue Neill-Fraser, remains wrongly imprisoned for his ‘murder’ 10 years later, CLA believes. Her new appeal begins in May this year. Details: http://www.neill-fraser-support-group.org.au/
Statistics show that more deaths occur in the police-prisons workplace than in the supposed highly dangerous industries in NSW. But deaths in police-prisons facilities are ignored in workplace health and safety analysis. For the sake of police and prison workers, at the very least, the impacts of deaths in such facilities must be formally referred to the workplace regulator for proper investigation, analysis and downstream action.
CLA campaigns for the rights of prisoners…and for saving taxpayers’ money. We call our approach ‘smart on crime, rather than the ‘tough on crime’ mantra. That’s the false propaganda microphoned out by politicians and news media before elections. Their way lies bigger prisons, more prisoners, fewer people rehabilitated and much greater cost to the purses and wallet of citizens, which achieves no improvement or benefit – at a time when crime is falling. This article is about CLA’s approach, and a prisoner’s right to vote, to actively pursue a better education and to gain some marketable skills through reading while locked away. CLA Vice-President Rajan Venkataraman reports.