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.
Read an extraordinary tale of spook intrigue, bugging foreign cabinet ministers, raid on lawyer’s office, denials, duck-shoves, spurious spin…all in the name of Australia, but deeply un-Australian. 17 June 2015
There’s a danger we could sleepwalk our way into losing our liberties, Michael Cornish says, as he examines some disturbing trends in how people are being treated. 10 April 2015
Delivering the Lionel Murphy memorial lecture for 2014, Prof George Williams gave this excellent rundown of the status of Australia’s terror laws. MPs, please take note. 6 Nov 2014
Without privacy, other key freedoms also disappear, and democracy itself disintegrates, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has told the UN. She has called for a new UN-run internet.
Just under way is the government’s latest move to close down public access to information. Dr Allan Hawke, known for his knowledge of dummy runs on the Canberra Raiders board, has started to review Australia’s FOI and Privacy regime, with clear ‘wink an…