CLA questions why ‘fishing’ police lock down entire town

Civil Liberties Australia has formally asked the Commissioner of Police Darren Hine to reveal under what law, regulation or powers were his TasPol officers acting in locking down an entire town and other locations to conduct ‘fishing’ searches which the police admit were ‘random’, not targeted on reasonable suspicion. Is Tasmanian and Australia becoming a fully-fledged police state? Will it be your town or your suburb – or your workplace, like the ABC, or your home, like The Australian journalist’s– that the local police take over or raid next?

State’s forensics in ageing decline, audit finds

An audit office analysis of the state of forensic analysis support for the court system in Queensland shows it is causing delays (some caused by errors, some averaging six months), is riddled by inefficiencies in cross-department cooperation and may in future be subject to failure because police cannot guarantee an audit trail of the exhibits they store. CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings reports on damming findings that require immediate police, health department and government attention.

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?

Chilling raids threaten democracy

Just as the nation’s journalists revealed legitimate questions requiring answers of substance by government and power elites, down descends the black curtain of warrants authorising raids by AFP officers who should have no role in deciding where truth lies in the Australian democracy. Rebecca Ananian-Welsh explains how we’ve become the world’s most secretive nation.

Spooky MPs raise the bar on monumental hypocrisy

The chair, Andrew Hastie, and deputy chair, Anthony Byrne, of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security have issued a truly historically hypocritical media release in which the parliament’s most repressive committee claims it stands for ‘the ability to report freely on national security’ as ‘vital to our democracy’. What about on-water incidents with boats and refugee claimants? What about ASIO reporting restrictions? What about the Witness K/Collaery secret trial at the moment? We haven’t heard a word from either of the two PJCIS heavies standing up for the media’s right to report ‘freely’ on those issues.

‘No further correspondence will be entered into’

Sometimes we forget that those who serve us 24/7 might also be doing it tough. Two recent major reports into the health/mental health and ‘injury’ management systems of first responders have raised serious and troubling questions about the quality and integrity of internal management and compensation arrangements, particularly in the NSW Police Force. Former Detective Sergeant Terry Flanders explains why ordinary citizens should be worried about and stand up for all ‘first responders’.

Justice dies a ‘Death on the Derwent’

A former Tasmanian, and noted crime author, Robin Bowles brings a unique perspective to her skilfully crafted, disturbing and compelling new book on the Sue Neill-Fraser case. The third book on the wrongful conviction released in just six months, Bowles brings a different insight to the sorry saga, which is still being played out in the Tasmanian courts 10 years after Bob Chappell disappeared off a yacht, his body never found. All actors in this drama await judge Michael Brett’s imminent decision on whether the woman sentenced to 23 years jail will get another chance to appeal her innocence.

Does perverted justice prevail in Australia’s deep south?

Witness coercion. Unjustified secret surveillance. Proven incompetence. Corruption by confirmation bias, Standover tactics. Bending laws to their own ends… and that’s just the local police! ‘Southern Justice’, a new book by Colin McLaren, exposes and details how justice has gone rogue in Tasmania, where 60-something grandmother Sue Neill-Fraser languishes in her 10th year in Risdon jail, of 23 to serve, for a crime she didn’t commit. It’s a cracking read! Review by CEO CLA Bill Rowlings.