With the virus crisis closing down jury trials, it’s timely to investigate how fair trials are when conducted by electronic means. Australian researchers lead the world in this area: here are the views, from research, of Prof Meredith Rossner and Prof David Tait.
The ’National Cabinet’ is going to the heads of Premiers and Chief Ministers: they are starting to think they can rule divinely, now that parliaments are dead and democracy is dying. Would you believe one CM, Andrew Barr in the ACT, is trying to dictate that you can only walk or cycle one way – clockwise – around Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. What will he do next? Order the tide to go out, or the stars to rotate differently. Bring back our civil liberties, starting immediately
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.
Ausralia’s statutory privacy watchdog, the OAIC, is taking Facebook to the Federal Court over alleged breaches of the privacy of 311,000 Australians…who may be just the tip of the iceberg. The case alleges Facebook has broken Australian law by harvesting personal data without fully revealing what the company was doing, and not protecting personal data properly.
People are trusting their politicians less than ever, a long-running ANU election study shows. As trust ebbs away, politicians’ promises are becoming worthless. Before the next federal election, any party that wants to restore the people’s faith should provide evidence they will introduce two things: an integrity body with teeth to counter political cheating and rorts, and a guarantee of freedoms/liberties for citizens in an Act of Parliament to safeguard the rights of Australians, particularly the powerless, to a fair go from the federal government, its departments, agencies and bureaucrats.
The governments’ proposed Religious Freedom laws would legitimise discrimination in the name of religion, undermine states’ rights, discriminate against non-believers, and generally make employment provisions in the health and education sector a minefield for anyone other than highly-qualified lawyers. As well, the laws would further entrench tax breaks for organisations that don’t provide the services to earn them. The government can do much better: a fundamental redrafting of the proposals is needed, CLA says.