The ACT is about to get updated whistleblower laws…but are the changes enough? ANU law students from the social justice stream examine how naked a ‘ whistler’ can seem to become when all the supposed safety shields are stripped away from him, or her.
It’s useful to review old critiques when new ones emerge, particularly to see if time has changed what’s important. Here’s a 2017 paper on integrity bodies. It suggests that, to secure funding against a recalcitrant Executive government, there should be a “special branch” of integrity agencies that get rum and rations directly from Parliament. What a good idea! Bring on a national ICAC with teeth.
Longtime security shenanigans observer, Jack Waterford, says giving executive power to ASIO was a big mistake, and exposes the hypocrisy of its recent claim to be offended by critical comments in relation to its China briefings, which compromise our diplomatic efforts.
Global journalist John Pilger will discuss and update the Julian Assange situation in a Zoom conversation at 1900 on 19 Sept 2020.
So secret was the trial and jailing of the ACT’s mystery prisoner that even the territory’s Minister for Corrections, who is also Minister for Justice, did not know about the case until the story broke in the media. Minister Shane Rattenbury still does not know on what grounds he locked up a prisoner for 18 months: he doesn’t know what the prisoner was charged with, or what the prisoner was convicted of. CLA poses some questions to Commonwealth authorities, including Supreme Courts.
For all its rhetoric, the Tasmanian government in practice does not enable citizen and media freedom, secretly surveils its citizens, and refuses to properly fund, staff and facilitate Right To Information processes. MPs should shed their party blinkers and stand up for the people, against myopic Ministers and secretive bureaucrats.
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.
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.
If national security is genuinely at risk, leakers should be prosecuted. But where Australia itself, its political leaders, top bureaucrats and spook agencies are the transgressors, ‘leakers’ should be rewarded and those who have trashed the nation’s reputation are the ones to go before a Royal Commission or court of law. Both the government and the opposition are behaving reprehensibly in relation to the Witness K/Bernard Collaery case, Dr Richie Gun says.