A federal parliament committee is hearing widespread views on the state of Australian democracy, including our inability to amend the Constitution and a reluctance to hold many referendums, in a series of ‘public’ meetings available to all citizens through streaming. Here is a precis of the comments in a submission by academic Dr Bede Harris, who has recently launched a major book on the subject.
It sounds so simple, just adopt an ID card that you must carry with you everywhere to ‘sign in’ during the Covid-19 pandemic. But how quickly would surveillance-creep go viral, and your movements be subjected to watching and recording every second of every day, all year, everywhere, by the police, spooks and governments? Massive safeguards are needed to protect our privacy and our private information, CLA says.
Are Australians losing liberties under the pandemic? There’s a strict, legal answer…and then the practical reality of what’s occurring. But the real lesson is that only eternal vigilance – and a federal Human Rights Act – will protect our freedoms. ‘The struggle for civil liberties is a journey that’s never ending,’ former High Court judge, Michael Kirby, says.
Was Operation Ironside illegal under Australian law? There is doubt, created by the AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw, whether the much ballyhooed Operation Ironside was carried out according to the law of the land. The first duty of our police is to obey the law, even before enforcing it. We need open and honest answers rather than confuseed bluster and PR spin, CLA says.
Powers-promoting TV appearances – actually, PR bids for new laws – by top police and politicians are a worrying new trend AS SEEN ON TV. The behaviour of the Coalition Government and ’The Community’ (as the security agencies and police bosses describe themselves) is a worrying new trend in how Executive government, uniformed elites and secret spooks aim to manipulate the Parliament and the people to their own ends. A recent blustering briefing on TV raised more questions than it answered, questions that demand transparent answers from the AFP hierarchy. Would the AFP have ’shopped’ the Bali 9, two of whom were executed, under the apparent new AFP arrest rules?
It has been reported that NSW police are accepting secret reports of sexual assault in a dangerous new type of vigilantism. Asked to comment verbally by the media, Civil Liberties Australia chose to put our concerns in writing. Here is our statement.
Six organisations – including Civil Liberties Australia – are calling on Tasmanian Legislative Councillors to vote against the government’s proposed anti-protest laws because they are undemocratic, illiberal, unjust, dangerous and technically flawed. The upper house debate is due on Wednesday 24 March 2021. Among other flaws, the laws aim to silence the community, CLA’s Tasmanian Director Richard Griggs says.