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.

Dutton & Home Affairs conduct sham, pre-ordained ‘consultation’

Minister Peter Dutton is conducting a sham ‘consultation’ after which he will determine “arrangements that govern the protection and management of identity information”. In other words, a man on record 16 years ago as demanding wholesale sharing of personal information across police, security and all government bodies is about to decide whether we get a national ‘Australia Card’ ID system or similar open-slather access to your private information. CLA’s submission says he’s the wrong man, it’s the wrong department, and any inquiry into personal ID rules should be run with equal numbers of rights, liberties and IT gurus as part of a balanced review panel.

Don’t get excited at airports…you may get carried away

Beware! You may have to change your natural behaviour at airports – don’t muck around, don’t joke, don’t skylark with friends…or the lurking police officer might decide to demand your ID, search you and your e-devices, make you miss your flight and take you away for questioning. The enhanced new search powers are so broad that AFP officers could apply them in just about any situation, certainly not just when mass panic is being provoked or someone is unfurling a provocative flag.  Paul Gregoire reports

Dutton consultation is a sham, says civil society

Parts of civil society are actively rebelling against a ‘sham’ public consultation process by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton that looks set to lead to a new Australia Card proposal or something very similar. Mr Dutton’s only public consultation meeting before pitching a new public ID and privacy system to COAG will be a 150-minute discussion on 22 October in Melbourne. The agenda is pre-determined for attendees to be spoken at, rather than being listened…and Dutton’s anti-privacy stance is well known from his very first speech to parliament.

Govt seeks new powers to send in the troops

The federal government is hell bent on boosting its powers to call out the troops at a moment’s notice anywhere in Australia, and even in anticipation of a problem occurring. The new law, now being considered by a parliamentary committee, would be perfect for using the Army, Navy and Air Force to protect President Trump when he visits, or to stop protestors at Adani mine or port sites, where fracking is about to get under way or any environmental protest is likely. The power to call out the troops should be very tightly constrained, which is the opposite of how this draft bill is written, says CLA CEO Bill Rowlings.

Look before we leap on law reform

CLA Director Richard Griggs writes: It’s a very big step for our State Government to be proposing new laws to enable groups to be banned from wearing identifying badges. It’s a big step because up until now what we choose to wear has been exactly that – our choice. For our parliament to now be considering given itself the power to regulate in this area of personal choice is quite a remarkable departure from our traditional legal system

‘Lawful but awful’ policing is problem here too

A new book that outlines the problems of policing in America over the past two decades has widespread lessons for Australia also. While Australian police don’t kill around 1000 citizens a year, the tunnel vision and confirmation bias attitudes, coupled with the propensity to lie because of twisted mateship, are exactly mirrored in Australia. As are problems stemming from excessive powers and secret linkages between federal police and  security bodies and state police.