Civil Rights

Strangers R Us: Why Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is Bitter, Stupid And Counter-Productive

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If you think our society is ‘too soft’ on the vulnerable, you probably need to find another society, writes Sue Stevenson. New Matilda It’s apparently easy to persuade lots of people to be cool with their government treating others like criminals. All you need to do is wedge yourself in underneath the bitterness of their life, and then use it as a lever to fling them really hard into the idea that other people are getting an easy ride. That’s ... Read More »

Defeated by high legal costs: the terrible injustice most of us could face

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It’s one of the most glaring gaps between theory and practice in our community, a huge disconnect between our democracy and our economy. A terrible injustice most of us could face. Everyone knows about it, but it’s rarely discussed. Ross Gittins Brisbane Times What is it? The prohibitively high cost of justice. We’re all supposed to be equal before the law, but you ain’t anything like equal if they can afford a lawyer and you can’t. The president of the ... Read More »

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson wears burqa in Senate question time stunt

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Face fully covered, the woman in black didn’t need to say anything as she entered the Senate. Pauline Hanson had made her point. Amy Remeikis The Age The One Nation leader took her seat for question time wearing a black burqa, ahead of her motion to ban the garment that was due for debate later on Thursday. The Queensland senator has rallied against the burqa since returning to Parliament last… Senate President Stephen Parry admitted there was not a lot he could ... Read More »

Turkey Uncensored: Will Turkey Succeed in Turning the Hagia Sophia Into a Mosque?

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The Islamist Felicity Party (Turkish: Saadet Partisi) organized the “Great Jerusalem demonstration” on July 30 in Istanbul. This event attended by thousands of people who condemned Israel following the recent incidents on the Temple Mount. Uzay Bulut Philos Project The demo quickly turned into an anti-Israel and anti-Jew hate fest in which several Islamic activists delivered harsh speeches against the Jewish State. Mustafa Koylu, the head of the Cansuyu Association, said, “You have to do one thing so that those who do not see ... Read More »

Is liking something on Facebook ‘protected political speech’? It depends

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Australians are often surprised to learn that their Constitution contains no right to free speech. Even the right to political speech, which is constitutionally implied, is increasingly complicated by new online platforms where people can express their views. Melissa Castan  The Conversation The Australian Public Service Commission’s (APSC) recent guidance for public servants shone a spotlight on the issue. It advises employees they could be in breach of their code of conduct for liking or sharing posts on Facebook that are critical of the ... Read More »

No Viking funerals: Choosing what happens to my body when I die limited by law

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If you’re looking to leave this world in a flaming ship pushed out to sea or being left to the vultures in a sky burial, you will need to think again. Mark Rigby ABC In the Northern Territory, like all other Australian states and territories, there are only two ways a body can be legally disposed of — burial or cremation. While the definition of cremation is to consume by fire, you cannot have a funeral pyre erected in the ... Read More »

Kenya Should Come Together After its Contested Elections

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Contrary to the deadly election of 2007, Kenya’s pivotal and highly-anticipated 2017 national and local polls passed without major outbreaks of violence. ICG But in order to build on this achievement, Kenyans must take further steps to overcome ethnic divisions and work toward greater national unity and inclusive governance. Despite claims of irregularity and the continuing risk of unrest, Kenya’s pivotal national and local elections on 8 August passed off in a largely peaceful manner. Millions of voters braved the elements and ... Read More »

Look At What’s Happening In America In 2017

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The Charlottesville rally is just another example of the deep-rooted, bone-chilling hatred in this country. Jenna Amatulli HuffPost In the past few days, thousands of “alt-right” members and white supremacists have taken over Charlottesville, Virginia, for a “Unite The Right” rally. The rally has also attracted plenty of counter-protesters, namely Antifa ― a fringe left radical group that stands for “Anti-fascism.” Violence and chaos has since ensued on both sides. The governor declared a state of emergency early Saturday morning.  ... Read More »

Trump fails to condemn white supremacists in statement on Charlottesville violence

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The president instead called out in what he deemed the strongest possible terms ‘this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.’ Nancy Cook Politico President Donald Trump declined to condemn the violent actions and protests of white supremacists on Saturday, who had converged on Charlottesville, Va., en masse to protest the removal of a statue of a Confederate general. The clashes killed at least one person and injured a number of others. Instead, Trump called out in what he ... Read More »

Nobel laureates urge Saudi king to halt 14 executions

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Ten Nobel Peace Prize winners are appealing to Saudi Arabia’s king and crown prince to show mercy and halt the executions of 14 young people sentenced to death for participating in protests in… EDITH M. LEDERER The Associated Press The Seattle Times In a letter released Friday they said staying the executions would “correct a great injustice.” The laureates said the 14 were convicted and sentenced in a mass trial “based on the actions of the ... Read More »

Larissa Nolan: Political correctness will hurt us all in the end

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Genuine liberalism respects and accepts diversity of behaviour and opinions Larissa Nolan The Irish Times Last week, the actor, writer and director Lena Dunham sent out a provocative tweet to her 5.5 million followers, while frustrated at a flight delay in JFK. The creator, writer and star of the HBO series Girls, believed she had earwigged on a conversation that deserved to be “called out” on social media – the supreme court of public opinion. Her tweet read: “Just overheard 2 @AmericanAir ... Read More »

We need the voices of public servants in the political debate. Their free speech is in peril

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Praising your agency is welcome, but not criticising it – new social media guidelines continue a troubling trend of silencing public servants John Wilson and Kieran Pender  The Guardian John Wilson is the managing legal director of Bradley Allen Love Lawyers Kieran Pender is a freelance journalist and legal researcher Another day, another attack on the ability of public servants to participate in Australian democracy. On Monday the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) released revised guidance on how federal government ... Read More »

How to fight racism, or why we all need to mourn my aunt

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My aunt was buried last Friday, the last of her generation in my family. We were not close but out of respect for her son, my cousin, I went along to the service. Jenna Price Brisbane Times Jewish services for the dead are Spartan yet comforting. There are no endless eulogies, just a brief summary of the facts as we know them. My aunt and her sister were marched to Ravensbruck sometime in 1943. I never knew much of the ... Read More »

Downplaying sexual assault to attack the Human Rights Commission is a new low

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In denouncing a survey into university sexual assaults, rightwing ideologues aren’t just tormenting survivors – they’re ignoring the nationwide response. Allison Henry Allison Henry is the campaign director for The Hunting Ground Australia Project The Guardian When we started The Hunting Ground Australia Project two years ago we knew the day would come when the rightwing ideologues would come after us. There had been some savage responses to the documentary in the US and we expected that our campaign to ... Read More »

Yassmin Abdel-Magied: where were my free-speech defenders?

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Andrew Bolt, are you up to the challenge? Mechanical engineer, author and social justice activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied has provoked the right-wing columnist: “If Andrew Bolt cares so much about freedom of speech as much as he reckons, he should have defended… Timna Jacks The Age “Where were all the defenders of freedom of speech in my case?” Ms Abdel-Magied – who describes herself the most “publicly hated Muslim in Australia” – made the comments after months of intense criticism following a Facebook post on ... Read More »

How a charter of rights could protect Australians’ fundamental freedoms

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Australia’s record of human rights protection in areas such as Indigenous people, asylum seekers and freedom of speech are perennial topics of debate. The focus of these discussions is now shifting to whether Australia can take steps to establish a stronger legal framework for protecting human rights. How a charter of rights could protect Australians’ fundamental freedoms George Williams Daniel Reynolds The Conversation One reason for this is Australia is in the final stages of defending its record in a ... Read More »