Civil Rights

Let’s face it, we’ll be no safer with a national facial recognition database

A commitment to share the biometric data of most Australians – including your driving licence photo – agreed at Thursday’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting will result in a further erosion of our privacy. That sharing is not necessary. It will be costly. Bruce Baer Arnold The Conversation But will it save us from terrorism? Not all, although it will give people a false sense of comfort. Importantly, it will allow politicians and officials to show that they are ... Read More »

Government risks over reach on tougher national security laws

While, at first glance, uploading all of Australia’s drivers licence photos into a central data base in the name of national security seems logical, it is not without some serious… Editorial The Canberra Times The worst is the obvious potential for “big brother” style surveillance of individuals who may not represent threats to the safety of the realm through the rapidly growing national network of CCTV cameras in shopping centres, on streets and… Critics, including members of the Australian Privacy ... Read More »

America’s freedom fundamentalism impervious to death

Around the world, people are aghast at the latest atrocity in the US, involving military-grade weapons, easily acquired, often lawfully owned. Mark Kenny Flummoxed at how such unspeakable brutalities are allowed to occur, and then simply occur again. The Age The Las Vegas mass shooting is “the worst in US history” but so what? This is mere headline. Nobody pretends it will be the last. The unknowns about next time are not if but where, when, and how many? If ... Read More »

We should beware of ceding tobacco to the criminals

No one who has watched a loved relative die of a smoking-induced disease will have much sympathy for the tobacco industry To see someone with emphysema fighting for every breath, or to watch the painful decline of someone with lung cancer – these are harsh lessons that change lives. Editorial The Sydney Morning Herald Smoking doesn’t just kill; it kills with pain, horror and indignity. Many people will thus understand and sympathise immediately with Andrew Forrest’s new anti-smoking campaign, intended ... Read More »

Teacher who said ‘Don’t let children die’ will give birth in Turkish prison

A one year, three month prison sentence handed down to Turkish teacher Ayşe Çelik, who called for an end to clashes between Kurdish militants and Turkish security forces in Diyarbakır during a TV program, was approved by a regional court of justice, Cumhuriyet reported on… Stockholm Center for Freedom According to the report Çelik, who said “Don’t let children die” during the “Beyaz Show” TV program, will give birth in prison as she is currently three months… On the night ... Read More »

58 Cold Hard Facts From The Nation That Just Brought You Another 58 ‘Cold Dead Hands’

If you think the latest horrendous mass shooting in the United States will cause a shocked nation to stop and take stock, then you know very little about the history of American gun culture, or politics. Chris Graham reports New Matilda At least 58 people have died overnight in Las Vegas, Nevada in yet another mass shooting in one of the world’s most violent nations. Perched on the verandah of a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay ... Read More »

1,516 mass shootings in 1,735 days: America’s gun crisis – in one chart

US gun control The attack at a country music festival in Las Vegas that left at least 58 people dead is the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history – but there were six other mass shootings in America this past week alone. The Guardian No other developed nation comes close to the rate of gun violence in America. Americans own an estimated 265m guns, more than one gun for every adult. Data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive reveals ... Read More »

Stonnington council suspends staff after tracking them via phone records

A Melbourne council is using mobile phone records to monitor its staff, sparking a bitter workplace dispute over “Orwellian surveillance” that could have implications for anyone using a phone provided by their employer. Cameron Houston and Chris Vedelago The Age City of Stonnington recently suspended four enforcement officers who it accuses of rorting ratepayers by claiming to have been at work, when phone records indicated they were outside the… The officers could face dismissal if the allegations are upheld. Three of ... Read More »

Catalan referendum: Riot police ‘fire rubber bullets’ at crowd as they block voters at besieged polling stations – latest news

Police in riot gear fire rubber bullets at pro-independence activists 337 people were injured or bruised, according to Catalonian spokesperson Ballot boxes seized by police in referendum banned by Madrid Madrid appeals for “cooperation and respect” Spanish riot police fired rubber bullets and seized ballot boxes from polling stations in Catalonia on Sunday as thousands flooded the streets to vote in an independence referendum banned by Madrid.  Hannah Strange, in barcelona  James Badcock, in madrid  Helen Nianias  Telegraph As the vote officially opened, scenes of chaos ... Read More »

Why didn’t I blow the whistle on harassment? Because I knew I’d never work again

There seems to be one resounding question surrounding the controversial dismissal of Channel Seven Adelaide cadet reporter Amy Taeuber​, who was allegedly sacked after she made a complaint of sexual harassment, and that is: “How can this still be happening?” Wendy Squires The Canberra Times Well, I have an answer that comes in the form of another question, and that is: “How aren’t we hearing about instances like this more?” Because, in my near-on 30 years in the media, not only have ... Read More »

World Bank warns of ‘learning crisis’ in global education

World Development Report 2018 calls for greater measurement, action on evidence WASHINGTON, September 26, 2017 – Millions of young students in low and middle-income countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life. Warning of ‘a learning crisis’ in global education, a new Bank report said schooling without learning was not just a wasted development opportunity, but also a great injustice ... Read More »

How Conservatives Learned to Love Free Lawyers for the Poor

By reframing the issue around the evils of big government, Republicans are notching victories that have eluded more liberal legislatures. ALYSIA SANTO Politico Christy Perry, a Republican state representative and co-owner of a gun shop in Boise, regularly travels with her husband to gun shows to sell their wares. Voters come to her booth so often that her husband jokingly plunked a sign next to the AR-15s: “Gun talk only. No politics.” A couple of years ago, Perry began broaching ... Read More »

Austria burqa ban: Government warns Muslim women to show faces in public or be fined

Breach of new integration law will be punished with €150 fine Chris Baynes  The Independent The Austrian government has issued posters and leaflets threatening Muslim women with fines for wearing face veils ahead of the introduction of a controversial ban. The authorities launched the publicity drive to raise awareness of the legislation outlawing niqabs and burqas, which will come into force on 1 October. Under the new “integration” policy, anyone wearing clothes that obscure their face in public can be fined €150 (£132) ... Read More »

Exclusive: John Howard says the government needs to explain how it will protect religious freedoms on same-sex marriage

Former prime minister John Howard has demanded that the rights of children not be forgotten in the same-sex marriage debate Speaking exclusively to 9NEWS from London, he also rejected Malcolm Turnbull’s assurances that a detailed debate about protecting religious freedoms can wait until after the postal vote on same-sex marriage is decided. Chris Uhlmann 9news Mr Howard said that if the postal survey returned a “yes” vote then the government would be stampeded into delivering change, so people needed answers ... Read More »

Explainer: what legal benefits do married couples have that de facto couples do not?

Opponents of marriage equality often say that married and de facto couples already have the same rights To what extent is this true? Hannah Robert  Fiona Kelly  And, in legal terms, how much do the differences matter? The Conversation In an opinion piece last week, former prime minister Tony Abbott claimed: ”Already, indeed, same-sex couples in a settled domestic relationship have exactly the same rights as people who are married.” This isn’t true. At the most fundamental level, same-sex couples ... Read More »

Turkey Uncensored: A History of Censorship and Bans

On April 29, the Turkish government announced that it completely blocked Wikipedia over the online encyclopedia’s refusal to delete articles and comments that suggest that Ankara is co-operating with terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. Uzay Bulut Philos Project Despite multiple requests by Turkish officials, Wikipedia refused to take down the content the Turkish government objected to. In response, Turkish authorities blocked online access to Wikipedia in all languages across the country. Wikipedia continues to be blocked ... Read More »