Just as chief judge Alan Blow makes a public PR bid for retaining his ’talented’ judges unchanged for a total of 20 years-plus – 6 men and 1 women, it should be noted – one of them (and not the woman) gets caught on camera late at night in the Grand Poobah nightcoub in an “intimate kiss” with a junior employee who reports to him. No wonder CLA and the Tasmanian Women Lawyers are calling for a judicial commission in Tasmania, urgently.
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.
States around Australia – Tasmania, Victoria, WA – are handing over the images of their citizens collected for a driver’s licence to be used as a national crime database. Some people and groups, including CLA, are very worried how politicians can be so cavalier about people’s personal privacy.
The High Court of Australia has decided, to its legal satisfaction, that there was a sexual harasser in its midst, former judge Dyson Heydon. But the court was apparently reluctant to act (it took 15 months). And has it learned the real lesson of this sorry affair, that it is judicial hubris at the High Court in general that’s the problem, not just one randy old judge. The High Court should take a long, hard look at itself…and so should the rest of Australia examine the performance, competence and protocols of one of the three arms of national governance.
While civil society is grating the government licence to use extraordinary powers during a medical emergency, that is no excuse to abuse people’s trust by bringing in draconian measures like over-the-top surveillance and elimination of the flimsy privacy rights we still retain, CLA says.
A new rights-eroding law would increase the reach of police and spooks into our lives at the expense of our withering rights, says author Paul Gregoire writing for Sydney Criminal Lawyers. The Frankenstein legislation would enable five-ways open slather access to all phone calls, emails, data and even metadata.