Sorting right from wrong, Australian independence, and balancing democracy

The ongoing, unjustifiable and petty legal action against Witness K, formerly of ASIS, and lawyer Bernard Collaery demand that the government holds a public inquiry into Australia’as negotiations over the Timor Gap oil treaty 15 years ago, just as the question of freedom of the press to report becomes top of mind. Both issues call into question the continuing, and increasing, dominance of the Executive over the Parliament in what is meant to be a balanced democracy.

Spooks Minister gives your privacy to Yanks

In an extension of the perfidy that passes for “security measures”, Minister Dutton is again bent on spying and prying into your and my private affairs with the aid of a thoroughly devalued US Administration accused of corrupt international requests. It is well past time that the Australian Parliament had the courage to rein in the excesses of out-of-control ideologue Ministers. MPs need to stand up for our rights to privacy and the liberty of being free from Big Brother abuse.

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!

Rabble is in ‘power’, but isn’t ‘governing’

Rabble is in ‘power’, but isn’t ‘governing’: Instead of a government, we have an ugly, vacuous rabble. They are somehow in power, but not “governing” in any intelligent way. Sexual assault accusations that go nowhere; deliberately divisive rhetoric (‘Whose side are you on?’ being a stand-out); Ministers accused of corruptly

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?