How Parliament’s fences lock people in to danger

Camouflage green fences exude precisely the wrong symbolism for a parliament building purpose-designed to be an accessible People’s House. From one angle, the most prestigious building in the National Capital looks like a jail, with slum attached. Are we keeping the prime inmates protected, or locked away behind our own ‘Berlin Wall’? Gates and upward-rising bollards – which have hoisted Commonwealth cars skywards – are further barriers to openness, security expert Dr Tony Murney says.

Militarised guards create potential firezone with children as collateral damage

Assault-style weapons proliferate throughout the external parliamentary precinct: armed guards patrol the ricochet-rich foyer. Into this potential bullet-riddled firezone Australia’s politicians invite subsidised schoolchildren in their hundreds every day the Parliament sits. With schools and embassies (including that of China) in nearby over-shoot range, even an accidental discharge could create personal tragedy or international incident.

Fencing off the House of Ghosts

Currently ghostly and almost unused due to Covid-19, trod by very few feet other than the police and security guards, Australia’s Parliament House is still fenced off from the people. This enclosed community, preventing overall access by the citizens of the nation, is against every principle on which the parliament chose the design after a mammoth, worldwide architectural competition. Tony Murney investigates…or tries to!

COVID-19 stats: the good, the bad and the ugly ‘data’

So, people are sick, and dying. But what is the hard comparative data? Why are our governments not sharing with us the figuring that lies behind their thinking. Here metrologist (measurement guru) and risk expert John W. Clark puts the comparative statistics under the microscope. You be the judge of whether our governments should be revealing more facts, and consulting with us much more about life-and-death decisions for people, economies and nations.

COVID-19: Risk management or risk aversion?

Experts are puzzled why only health professionals appear to be advising senior politicians over Covid-19 problems. Noted by their absence are risk advisors. In a national crisis, governments should involve risk professionals accustomed to analysing, evaluating, ignoring ’noise’ and applying a structured, disciplined approach to crucial decisions which will affect Australia for decades to come.

Releasing non-violent inmates could reduce COVID spread potential

As Iran releases 100,000 prisoners, Australian jails are still packed with the potential for major COVID-19 spread into the community, Paul Gregoire writes for Sydney Criminal Lawyers. And, as usual, Indigenous prisoners are relatively most at risk because of their large numbers and poor health. The WHO and UN have warned Australia about the potential for jails to spread the pandemic. ‘Prison health is a matter of public health’.

Does the COVID-19 pandemic response measure up to our rights and liberties?

Difficult questions are starting to arise around the human rights implications of the Covid-19 pandemic in Australia. The delicate balancing act between minimising harm and infringing on liberties is occurring in a way many of us have not experienced before, legal bioethicist Caitlin Davis says as she explores the issues.