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Byron Shire
September 21, 2023

Editorial – Civil liberties: good or bad?

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Hans Lovejoy, editor 

With attention fixated on injustice, policing and black lives, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) is just one voice of sanity in a country awash with racism and bigotry.

Based in Sydney, they are a small group of lawyers committed to educating the public and advocating for the most vulnerable. NSWCCL said in statement regarding the marches, ‘There have been 432 Indigenous deaths in custody since the 1991 Royal Commission – including the recent death of Tanya Day, which the coroner found to be preventable – and its recommendations have never been fully implemented.

‘To our knowledge, no one has ever been convicted in relation to those deaths. Indigenous peoples are over-policed and over-incarcerated, with adults 15 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Indigenous Australians and juveniles 26 times more likely to be incarcerated. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported in December 2019 that while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up around three per cent of the total Australian population, they account for 29 per cent of the total adult prisoner population in Australia’.

Addressing the problems outlined here need compassion, leadership and competency. These are not attributes of federal Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton MP (Liberal).

By way of example, the former QLD cop walked out of Kevin Rudd’s Stolen Generation speech in 2008. And his 2002 parliamentary maiden speech was, in part, directed at the Council of Civil Liberties. Dutton said of the advocacy group, ‘Australians are fed up with the Civil Liberties Council – otherwise known as the criminal lawyers media operative – who appear obsessed with the rights of criminals, yet do not utter a word of understanding or compassion for the victims of crime’.

So here’s a question for the good burghers who elected Dutton in the north Brisbane seat of Dixon – are civil liberties good or bad?

Even if his electorate has no empathy for others, isn’t the best insurance from social chaos a fair, transparent and competent government?

Honouring the disgraced

This year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours included disgraced former politicians. How about, instead, recognising those who do actual selfless acts and inform the public, like whistleblowers? Julian Assange and Bernard Collaery come to mind. Both are currently being prosecuted by the governing class for speaking truth to power.

This year’s sorry list of grifter recipients include Bronwyn ‘Chopper’ Bishop, and perhaps the worst PM ever to occupy the lodge, Tony Abbott.

Journalist Kate McClymont tweeted: ‘I am still in complete shock over this: Graham “Richo” Richardson, bagman, self-confessed liar, Swiss bank account holder, creator of Eddie Obeid, involved in sex scandals and Offset Alpine, has collected an Order of Australia for his “distinguished service”.’

To be fair on old Lizzie, the Queen’s Birthday Honours is decided by past recipients. It’s just one way the governing class try to maintain an air of respectability while there is contrary evidence.

News tips are welcome: [email protected]

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  1. The Queen’s Birthday Honours List……… is a disgrace.
    Past recipients calling the shots & recommending the
    greatest users, abusers & pay-backers just goes to
    show how shallow the Government, & the opposition
    are. Forgive me for laughing [it’s sick, I know] but all
    this reminds me of is the game ‘Kiss & Tell’. It’d be
    better if we could [this isn’t nice either] have our grand
    ex-pollies walk over ‘hot coals’ (bare-foot) to collect
    their awards. Why? Well, maybe then they’d get the
    feel a large number of the land’s sad punters get
    each time our ‘rights’ get stood-on. Taken away.
    Think Civil Liberties & Whistleblowers for top-billing
    along with real people, not fabrications for genuine

  2. It was a VERY long time ago that I realised, those who recieve these awards, Knighthoods, Governergeneralships etc. only do so at the cost of selling their souls, and their fellow Australians, to the benefit of those bestowing the awards.
    Joh Bjelke, was made a ‘Sir’, enough said ?
    Cheers, G”)

  3. Thank goodness for groups like the Council for Civil Liberties. We need to hear more from them, and others, protesting about lack of action on preventing deaths in custody.


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