WELCOME – Civil Liberties Australia

Why should you care about civil liberties?

The thing people care most about is their family’s safety. Today, fear of a terror attack looms large in the minds of many people. But should our government be allowed to use any means necessary to keep us safe from terrorists, Mark Hemery asks?

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Banerji case highlights urgent need for Bill of Rights: Triggs

Prof Gillian Triggs – once Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner, now a Protection Commissioner at the UN – dissects the inadequacy of safeguards of citizens’ rights in Australia after the recent narrow ruling by Australia’s wimpish High Court on the Banerji case, She stresses how that and other cases highlight how urgent formal Rights protection is for the nation.
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Army ‘Regs’ lead to institutional abuse by Defence

The reality of a Defence Inquiry is far from the rhetorical ‘fair go’ our soldiers deserve, Kay Danes writes. It has become an instrument of power, wielded by officers to deny subordinates and civilians access to fair and equal opportunity within their employment. Complainants suffer bullying and harassment by the very system supposedly set up to assist them.

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August 2019 CLArion newsletter: Book strips bare the perfidy inside parliament as chancers go for broke

A new Niki Savva book exposing the soap opera around Malcolm Turnbull’s demise as PM paints MPs in a very poor light. Meanwhile, police officers themselves are joining the campaign to end the highly problematic practice of police investigating police. Officers say they don’t get a fair hearing over medical, OH&S and PTSD issues; citizens say they don’t get a fair hearing when they complain about police.
  • ’Scrutiny’ makes no difference to bills’ excesses
  • Legal aid abandoned through government underspending
  • Sue Neill-Fraser chalks up 10 years in jail, wrongly convicted
  • 'There is no defence for this…’  Sexual assault in the ADF never ends
  • Aussie press raids and threats impact world media, Clooney says
  • DPP decides to not charge man who assisted suicide
  • Redistricting: how US politicians pick their voters
  • Unfairly accused pair launch anonymity campaign

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Who guards the guardians? (updated)

Our civil liberties movement is a broad church. We’re all genuinely committed to defending the freedoms of all people. But freedom, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Should we defend negative liberty or positive liberty, Mark Hemery asks.
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19th century legal system must undergo major reform

The legal system is broken if a person must wait three years to get a Supreme Court trial. Barrister Greg Barns explains how justice could be done better in Tasmania, but his critiques and suggestions for major reform apply to every jurisdiction in Australia. Australia’s overall legal system(s) have never been subjected to an overall review. It’s time for Better Justice throughout the nation:
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Rule of law first, democracy second (if needed)

Riots highlight how and why the rule of law is a better guide to freedom and liberties than is the notion of democracy, Prof Richard Mulgan writes. For that reason, Australian society should be underpinned by a human rights act which guarantees all key aspects of what we think of as the rule of law.
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Govt admits police excess: new inquiry into press ‘freedom’

The announcement by the Australian government of an inquiry into excessive security laws and police power is an admission that raids on the ABC and an Australian journalist’s home were way beyond reasonable, Bill Rowlings says. Here’s the full terms of reference.
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CCTV and Mass Surveillance

Big Brother now knows your name. Listen to Civil Liberties Australia's Vice-President, Tim Vines, speak with Perth Indymedia Radio - RTR 92.1 FM about the expansion of CCTV with facial recognition
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CLA questions why ‘fishing’ police lock down entire town

Civil Liberties Australia has formally asked the Commissioner of Police Darren Hine to reveal under what law, regulation or powers were his TasPol officers acting in locking down an entire town and other locations to conduct ‘fishing’ searches which the police admit were ‘random’, not targeted on reasonable suspicion. Is Tasmanian and Australia becoming a fully-fledged police state? Will it be your town or your suburb – or your workplace, like the ABC, or your home, like The Australian journalist's– that the local police take over or raid next?
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State’s forensics in ageing decline, audit finds

An audit office analysis of the state of forensic analysis support for the court system in Queensland shows it is causing delays (some caused by errors, some averaging six months), is riddled by inefficiencies in cross-department cooperation and may in future be subject to failure because police cannot guarantee an audit trail of the exhibits they store. CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings reports on damming findings that require immediate police, health department and government attention.
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July 2019 CLArion: Parliament resumes, but agenda at cross purposes with nation’s need for greater humanity

To build a better nation, Australia needs to re-focus on our freedoms and our humanity rather than on tax-cutting baubles and harsher refugee and security laws. After nearly 20 years of excessive terrorism fear driving public policy, it’s time for politicians, parliament and the people to create a better society for the future rather than building walls around the past.

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