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Want to know about pill testing at music festivals?

Here’s a detailed, sober assessment of the issues around pill testing at music and dance festivals, written by a group who have lost children to drug-taking. Unfortunately, its opening lines – written on 12 Jan 2019 – are out of date: there’s been another music festival death since then. Police put their trust in sniffer dogs (accuracy rate, about 27%, a NSW Ombudsman study shows), and politicians promote prohibition. With teens and twenties, who come alive to to the beat of music, that works about as well as telling young people not to experiment with sex.

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Dutton devalues sex register by false, overblown claims

Minister Peter Dutton is devaluing a most important and needed public debate, apparently for political purposes, about preventing child sex abuse. “The way he has gone about what amounts to a sham consultation is a very clear indication that he and the government are much more concerned about the upcoming federal election than bringing in better and effective protection for children than exists now,” CLA CEO Bill Rowlings says. “From the outset of this media silly season thought bubble, Minister Dutton has made outrageous claims, quoted inappropriate sources and combined figures for categories of offences in a way that would see him charged with fraud if he were to do something similar in a commercial prospectus.” There is no evidence to support Mr Dutton's claims that a sex register would work, he said.

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We need people to be more revolting!

  Darwinites gathered recently in a commemorative rally to recall the events of a century ago, when the tropical township was starting to earn its reputation as one of the revolutionary hotspots of Australia. CLA’s NY-semi-centurion, Rob Wesley-Smith, was moved to motivate the crown to further action, even as he recalled some of the key rallies, strikes, marches and dog-burning escapades of earlier years.  
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CLA’s 2019 electronic Annual General Meeting (eAGM)

eAGMThe 2019 electronic annual general meeting or eAGM of Civil Liberties Australia Inc will be held, mostly online by electronic (e) means as covered in the CLA Constitution, in February and March.  This year includes the elction of Board members.
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January 2019: Bright spots provide hope as new year brings fresh battles over aged care and bills of rights

Change is in the air this new year: a new governor-general – will he be the last? A federal election – will new MPs realise Australians want much more listening and far less shouting by their national representatives? Will the completed Banking Royal Commission and the beginning Aged Care RC fulfil our hopes for improved personal treatment by big business of average Aussies? And can we improve the legal and penal system to deliver quality and timely ‘justice’ at reduced cost with far less angst all round?
Also in this issue:
  • 10 years wrongly jailed: gathering outside parliament
  • High Court judge urges more Crown appeals against sentences
  • Australians losing faith in democracy
  • ‘Five Eyes’ become arbiters of national policy, manipulators of commerce
  • Suppressed! Your right to know
  • Protest rights need better protection
  • CCC calls for inquiry into ‘justice’ system
  • Police want to predict criminal intentions
  • Sentenced aged 16, ineligible for parole until aged 67

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Want to help a ‘caravaner’ refugee?

As waves of people continue to push on foot towards a possibly walled Mexico-USA border, the US President is lowering even further the number of refugees permitted into the USA in 2019. Can individual Australians sponsor a ‘caravaner’ refugee? Yes, but it’s costly, lengthy and replete with reams and months, if not years, of red tape. CLA Director and refugee expert Jennifer Ashton explains.

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Suppressed! Your right to know    

A noted person was apparently convicted of historic sex crimes in Victoria in December 2018 – but Australians can only find out about the conviction by reading overseas media outlets. In Australia, news of all details of the case is ’suppressed’ by the judge. That is, no-one anywhere in Australia is permitted to report what international outlets say was a unanimous finding by a jury that a person was guilty. The person is to be sentenced in February, but is currently on bail despite being convicted of offences against children, which usually involves residential restrictions. Court suppression orders in Australia, like defamation laws, need a thorough overhaul.

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Electing to study how good/bad law is made

One problem with law-and-order politicians is that their efforts inevitably lead to more prisons, more prisoners and more taxes paid by the very people who voted for them. It’s a bit like a two-card trick: vote for me and I’ll take more money from you. But laws are derived from all sorts of community inputs – as well as glib pollticians – and a new academic team across universities is studying how we get both good laws and bad laws.
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High Court makes children pawns in police-justice tug of war

The most surprising aspect of the High Court’s decision on the lawyer-informer case involving Victoria Police is not how much the court castigated the lawyer, or how it delivered a blistering attack on the standards and culture within Victoria Police. What no-one seems to have picked up on is how seven judges of the High Court of Australia have delivered what a lay person would call a judicial threat against the lawyer: go into VicPol’s witness protection program – against your own wishes – or you are likely to lose your children, taken from you by the State.
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Govt’s latest gift: new laws further eroding our civil liberties    

By Paul Gregoire*

The Morrison Coalition government unleashed a swag of draconian laws in the final parliamentary
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December 2018: Politicians concentrate on fear-raising activities as police and security agencies escape close scrutiny and control

This time around we head into the annual news silly season from Christmas through January with a federal election all but called, and parliament on tilt. There’s a real danger that politicians and security agencies will escalate campaigns and raids around terrorism as well as crime to elevate community fear levels in trying to influence voting. We may be in for a rough time as irresponsible news outlets throw big banner headlines at circumstances where mental illness is as much to blame as radicalisation.
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Drug prohibition causes the harm

When people die or serve years in jail because they took drugs, there’s one group for whom the suffering never ends, the parents. Here reporter Paul Gregoire explores what one often-overlooked group, the Parents and Friends of Drug Law Reform, believe is the way forward to reducing deaths and ameliorate the consequences and suffering of the health problem that is the taking of drugs in our society. An overdose of alcohol is a disease, cancer from an overdose of sun is a disease, consuming tobacco is treated as a health problem, why is taking drugs not treated similarly?

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