A parliamentary inquiry into how Big Government screws the little guy and small business in court is struggling to have its voice heard. A Senate committee’s investigation of a proposed law to fix the problem was announced in November 2017, but the committee’s report now been postponed, for the fourth time, to 7 December 2018. That’s a day after the last sitting day of the year for parliament. If an election is called early in 2019, we may never get to see why the government believes it can ignore its legislated responsibility to make its own bodies give people a fair go in legal battles
Why are we are so timid over rights and freedoms, but so over-zealous when it’s repression? With refugees, we have struck upon a crude, cruel way to discourage asylum seekers. Now, a new law is taking the barest minimum steps to try to help 21stC slaves. With more slaves in the world than ever before, it was time our parliament enacted robust legislation with teeth: instead, we’re getting a Modern Slavery Act as flakey as a gummy shark.
Forget the fireworks inside Parliament House! Loud bangs are likely to be heard all over Canberra soon…but no-one’s saying where or when. The Australian Defence Force plans to carry out counter-terrorism training in late August. Or, it could be, training for when the federal government calls out the troops: see CLA’s submission to the current Defence Call Out Bill, a particularly power-seizing piece of legislation that flies in the face of one clause in the Australian Constitution.
CLA’s submission on a Model Litigant Obligations Bill, proposed by Senator David Leyonhjelm, has at last been published on the website of the Senate committee inquiring into the proposed new law. CLA says the Attorney-General’s Department does not abide by existing law because it fails to actively police, enforce and even simply report annually as it is required by legislation to do on how well, or otherwise, the government is acting as a model litigant. CLA tells the committee the Australian government’s reputation in this area is “rancid”. CLA submission is here: CLA’s and other submissions are here
The expert panel inquiring into religious freedom should be very clear exactly what ‘freedom of religion’ means in Australia, CLA says in its inquiry submission. The notion includes the rights of atheists, no mandating of ‘religiosity’ in schools, and no promoting of religion by the state. We should also have protections as constant benchmark comparators, such as those contained in the Bill of Rights Australians should have to protect ongoing individual freedom of choice.
Civil Liberties Australia’s submission to federal parliament’s Electoral Matters inquiry has called on the committee to ensure that NGOs are safeguarded against the intrusive and punitive provisions in the first draft of the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017. The bill is negatively focused, and continues a trend to restrict and impose burdens on democratic communication in Australia, CLA says. Why is the parliament not producing, instead, positive reforms that further enable, expand and facilitate access to democracy by Australian citizens? CLA asks.
Civil Liberties Australia has taken issue with the language used in a parliamentary inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia. “We note that the Terms of Reference refer to ‘residents’ and ‘consumer protection’, rather than referring to ‘people’, ‘older Australians’ or ‘citizens’. In this language lies the danger of treating older Australians merely as “profit units” for an industry portrayed in the public perception as ‘caring’, because of its links to churches and the like, but which is in truth as hard-nosed and bottom line-driven as any other, “ CLA has told the inquiry. Click for CLA’s submission
Australia should enact a new modern slavery law, as the UK has done, but their Act can be improved says Fiona Gerry QC, author of the CLA submission to parliament. 21 June 2017
Blue-sky boosters talk up trade agreements, but the reality is fewer jobs, less training and safety, plus loss of legal sovereignty as most battling Aussies miss out on benefits. 2 Sept 2015