Showing posts with label Australian politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australian politics. Show all posts

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Dismissal of the Whitlam Labor Government (11 November 1975): full range of Buckingham Palace correspondence with then Australian Governor-General Sir John Kerr will be available for online viewing from 11am on Tuesday, 14th July 2020

National Archives of Australia, 9 July 2020:

The National Archives of Australia will release the Kerr Palace Letters on Tuesday 14 July. 

National Archives Director-General David Fricker said all the letters will be released without exemption. 

‘In line with the High Court ruling of 29 May, the National Archives has examined the records for public release under the provisions of the Archives Act 1983 and I have determined all items will be released in full,’ Mr Fricker said. 

The records cover the period of Sir John Kerr’s term as Governor-General (1974–77). 

There are six files, which include more than 1000 pages. 

There are 212 letters, many with attachments such as newspaper clippings, reports, and copies of letters related to meetings and events attended by Sir John Kerr during his tenure as Governor-General. 

Applicants that have sought access to the Kerr Palace Letters will be advised of the release date. Mr Fricker said, ‘The National Archives is proud to function as the memory and evidence of the nation, to preserve and provide historical Commonwealth records to the public.’ 

Digital copies of the Kerr Palace Letters will be made publicly available on the National Archives’ website from 11.00am on Tuesday 14 July.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Quote of the Week

"Alone in the developed world, Australia navigated the last major global financial crisis without going into recession, without mass job losses and without a spike in suicides. Those days are gone. That competent Government is gone. Instead, Australia is now among the global losers. Last Wednesday’s (3 June) quarterly report on the national accounts by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows Australia’s economy contracted by 0.31 per cent in the three months to 31 March….It was not inevitable that Australia’s economy would contract in 2020, despite the impact of the pandemic.” [Alan Austin writing in IndependentAustralia, 8 June 2020]

Friday, 24 April 2020

The fact that Minister for Home Affairs & Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton is always lurking in the shadows during national crises continues to be a worry

"I’m going to keep going until I get the numbers. I’m not stopping" [Minister for Home Affairs & Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton on the subject of his desire to be Australian prime minister, quoted in "The Bigger Picture", April 2020]

It has become notable that since September-August 2018 when Peter Dutton's bid to topple then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull succeeded but his bid to become Australian prime minister failed - primarily because he and Turnbull were both outfoxed by a duplicitous Scott Morrison - Dutton disappears into the shadows during the worst phases of national crises or major political scandal.

One suspects he does so as he doesn't want voters to negatively associate him with either crises or scandal, because he hasn't given up his ambition to be prime minister after the next federal election.

As Dutton's worldview is as much a threat to democratic processes as is the worldview of current prime minister Scott Morrison, voters would do well to keep in mind what Dutton would like to impose on Australian society.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers, 20 April 2020:

Peter Dutton Proposes Prison for Refusing to Provide Passwords

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has been absent from the media spotlight in recent times, ever since he contracted coronavirus.

And many are asking where the man at the helm of curtailing civil liberties on a federal level has been in the midst of the current pandemic.

The man at the helm of the surveillance state

Mr Dutton has been credited with proposing a wide range of laws designed to increase the power of authorities at the expense of individual liberties.

Perhaps most recently, Mr Dutton proposed laws which would result in prison time for those who fail or refuse to hand over their passwords or PINs when requested to do so by authorities.

Peter Dutton has said the laws are needed to help police catch criminals who are hiding behind encryption technology – a line we have heard many times before as the country’s law makers put in place draconian measures to grant police and other authorities surveillance powers that encroach upon our privacy.

Under the proposals, which is currently on hold, people who are not even suspected of a crime, could face a fine of up to $50,000 and up to five years’ imprisonment for declining to provide a password to their smartphone, computer or other electronic devices.

Furthermore, anyone (an IT professional, for example) who refuses to help the authorities crack a computer system when ordered will face up to five years in prison. If the crime being investigated is terrorism-related then the penalty for non-compliance increases to 10 years in prison and/or a $126,000 fine.

Tech companies who refuse to assist authorities to crack encryption when asked to do so, will face up to $10 million in fines. What’s more, if any employee of the company tells anyone else they have been told to do this, they will face up to five years in gaol.

Under the legislation, foreign countries can also ask Australia’s Attorney General for police to access data in your computer to help them investigate law-breaking overseas.

Australia’s hyper-legislative response to September 11

Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, the Australian parliament has responded to the threat of terrorism here and overseas by enacting more than 80 new laws and amending existing laws – many of them with wide-reaching consequences, such as the terrorism laws used to conduct raids on journalist Annika Smethurst’s home and the ABC’s head offices, as well as charge former military lawyer and whistleblower David Mc Bride with offences that could see him spending the rest of his life in gaol.

Controversial metadata laws too, introduced in 2015, seriously impact our personal privacy requiring telecommunications companies to retain metadata including information on who you call or text, where you make calls from, and who you send emails to.

The problem is that once these kinds of extraordinarily heavy-handed powers are legislated, they are very seldom retracted or rescinded. In many cases, over time, they are expanded. Australia’s oversight body the Australian Law Reform Commission can review laws that are already in place, but it has limited powers which only enable the commission to make recommendations for change, not to actually change the laws themselves.

Police already have the power to seize a phone or laptop if you have been arrested.

Border Force has even more extensive seize and search powers.

The extensive powers of border force

In 2018, Border Force made headlines after intercepting an British-Australian citizen travelling through Sydney airport seizing his devices.

Nathan Hague, a software developer was not told what would be done with his devices, why they were being inspected or whether his digital data was being copied and stored. He believes his laptop password was cracked.

Australian Border Forces have extensive powers to search people’s baggage at Australian airports. These are contained in section 186 of Customs Act 1901 (Cth). These include opening baggage, reading documents, and using an X-ray or detection dog to search baggage.

The Customs Act allows officers to retain an electronic device for up to 14 days if there is no content on the device which renders it subject to seizure. And if it is subject to seizure, the device may be withheld for a longer period.

ABF officers have the power to copy a document if they’re satisfied it may contain information relevant to prohibited goods, to certain security matters or an offence against the Customs Act. A document includes information on phones, SIM cards, laptops, recording devices and computers.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Monday, 23 March 2020

According to Roy Morgan Research Prime Minister Scott Morrison is distrusted by a majority of the Australian public - along with US President Donald Trump, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and disgraced former deputy-prime minister Barnaby Joyce

Roy Morgan Research, Finding No. 8333 Topic: Public Opinion Press ReleaseSpecial Poll Country: Australia New Zealand United States, 19 March 2020:

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has highest ‘Net Trust Score’ of all political leaders while Australian PM Scott Morrison has a ‘Net Distrust Score’ to overcome

A special Roy Morgan survey on ‘Trust’ and ‘Distrust’ of government leaders shows New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern scores the highest ‘Net Trust Score’ of all – meaning the ‘Trust’ felt toward the New Zealand leader far outweighs the ‘Distrust’ – according to a special Roy Morgan Snap SMS Survey of 974 Australians aged 14+ conducted over the last two days.

People surveyed in Australia were asked ‘Which government leaders do you trust. List as many as you can think of?’ and also ‘Which government leaders do you distrust. List as many as you can think of?’ By subtracting distrust from trust we arrive at a Net Trust Score (if trust outweighs distrust) or Net Distrust Score (if distrust outweighs trust).

Women dominate the Net Trust Scores filling four out of the top five positions. Other leaders to score highly on Net Trust include Opposition Leader in the Senate Penny Wong, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and former ALP Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek.

Top 10 Political Leaders by Net Trust Score

Source: Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey conducted on March 18-19, 2020.
Base: Australians aged 14+. n=974.

Scott Morrison has a ‘Net Distrust Score’ alongside colleague Peter Dutton

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is mentioned as a ‘Trusted’ leader by more Australians than any other. However, unfortunately for Morrison, there are far more Australians that have a ‘Distrust’ of the Prime Minister than ‘Trust’ him – leaving the Prime Minister with a ‘Net Distrust Score’

Other prominent political leaders that have ‘Net Distrust Scores’ include Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, US President Donald Trump and former National Party Leader Barnaby Joyce.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s trust has been built on taking decisive actions in many challenging situations since becoming Prime Minister:

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has demonstrated impressive leadership since taking New Zealand’s top job in responding with empathy to the Christchurch mosque shootings a year ago and the tragedy caused by the eruption of White Island last year. Most recently, Ardern’s decisive leadership was demonstrated with New Zealand becoming the first country to impose harsh restriction on all foreign nationals from entering the country in response to the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

In contrast our own Prime Minister Scott Morrison faced a ‘wall of criticism’ for his handling of the Summer bushfire crisis and this has continued for many with his handling of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Given the current uncertainties, it is important Australians trust our Prime Minister. Although the results show Morrison is trusted by a wide variety of Australians there are far more that distrust the PM meaning he has a significant ‘Net Distrust Score’.

One of the most striking results of this unprompted research assessing opinions of political leaders is the leading performance of many of Australia’s female politicians. As well as New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern on top, Opposition Leader in the Senate Penny Wong, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and former ALP Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek are all in the top five. Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard is also not far behind in eighth position despite living in the United Kingdom for the past few years.

Additional detail on the reasons Australians have given for ‘Trusting’ and also ‘Distrusting’ this diverse range of political leaders will be released in coming days.”

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Quote of the Week

"If the battle cry of our government’s response to the global financial crisis was “go early, go hard, go households”, this government’s approach to the current crisis seems to be “go late, go half-measures, and go ... well ... go to Hillsong”." [Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, writing in The Guardian, 16 March 2020]

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Tweets of the Week - #sportsrorts edition

In which the answer to Liberal Senator for Tasmania Eric Abetz's question reveals that #sportsrorts was a fact.

In which Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison cuts and runs after caught misrepresenting the Auditor-General's report concerning #sportrorts