Right from wrong

Is it OK for Australia to bug our neighbouring countries’ negotiating teams? Who makes such decisions? Should corporate interests benefit from state surveillance and bugging? What’s is permissible under the Rule of Law (ROL) and the Rule of Morals and Ethics (RoME)? We need a Royal Commission to get to the bottom of the East Timor bugging scandal, to decide what is right and what is wrong for the future.

82 anti-terror laws in 18 years: has our safety changed?

With new Australian anti-terror laws running at about five a year over 18 years, there are two fundamental questions: has our safety changed for the better, and do we need all of them now, or should there be a consolidated ‘Anti-terror Act’ that reins in the draconian excesses, restores balanced rights and liberties, and better represents the real dangers in 2020 to the nation?

CLA warning on mass surveillance highlighted

In a proposed new law before parliament, the government wants the right to conduct broad-spectrum surveillance, and hold photos on every Australian, without necessary safeguards. It claims the technology doesn’t exist for mass surveillance in real time, but The Guardian report’s CLA President Dr Kristine Klugman when she points out that a minor development could introduce the option of ‘1984’ and ‘Big Brother’ high-tech to Australia in just a few months, which police and security authorities would find ‘cheap and enticing’…and irresistible.

Government hypocrisy over filming in Tasmania 

The Tasmanian Minister for the Arts (who is also Attorney-General) gives $100,000 to a documentary maker for a series partly filmed in Tasmania which is investigating injustice around a South Australian murder case. But her own government sools the Tasmanian Police on to a documentary film-maker filming in Tasmania for a series investigating injustice around a ‘murder’ case in Tasmania. Go figure!

Am I living in a police state?

The recent Australian Federal Police raids on a News Corp journalist and the ABC are an alarming extension of growing repressive tendencies by the Australian government. When you combine bad laws and expanded unquestionable powers with poor management decisions and a curtailing of public and media reviews, the result is that unalert citizens unknowingly become subjects of a police state. John Passant asks: how far along that path are we?

Vics down on Dutton’s sex proposal

Victoria’s Minister Lisa Neville is not well please with federal Minister Dutton’s ’thought bubble’ in January about a federal Sex Offender Register: “The Victorian Government was disappointed that it was not consulted prior to the announcement of the proposal and I have written to Minister Dutton requesting further consultation on …

Where is your data?

I read recently that many treaties, including the Trans Pacific Partnership, contain clauses prohibiting restrictions on where data is stored. It is designed, I understand, to stop sovereign governments from requiring that, for example, data stored in your cloud account or at your bank be stored on national servers. It …