Law & Order

Royal Commission reveals need for tougher corporate cop

Bank theft 1aaa  Illustration by Jim Pavlides

Imagine this … An elderly couple returns home from holiday to discover their front door lock broken and $2000 in cash stolen from a biscuit tin in their kitchen. Jessica Irvine Brisbane Times The couple immediately ring the police, who inform them of a spate of similar robberies in the area. But the police have tracked down the perpetrator, who is in custody facing charges that carry a jail term of at least five years. The elderly couple are promptly ... Read More »

Indian government introduces death penalty for child rapists

Rasa 1a

Special order from Narendra Modi’s cabinet comes amid widespread outrage over levels of sexual violence Colin Drury Independent India is to introduce the death penalty for child rapists, in a move aimed at alleviating nationwide protests over a number of brutal and high-profile cases. Those found guilty of sexually assaulting youngsters under 12 will now face execution, under a special ordinance issued by the government and set to be rubber-stamped next week. The change comes amid widespread outrage over the… ... Read More »

China’s New Arctic Policy Needs Close Analysis

Roz 2b

Now that the dust has settled on China’s big policy announcement, it is time to take a fresh look at China’s Arctic Policy and assess what it means for the United States and the other five states that have a coastline on the Arctic Sea: Canada, Greenland (Denmark), Russia, Norway, and… Mark E. Rosen IPP Review Before delving into that policy and making comparisons to other policy documents that China has issued, it makes sense to first review the legal ... Read More »

We cannot rely morally on ‘deterrence’ to justify our harsh refugee policies

Panag 4d

When debate about refugees ascends from slogan swapping (“stop the boats”, “bring them here”) to specific reasoning, there seems only one argument worth considering for the ignominious detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru and the refusal to ever settle any in… Tony Coady The Conversation That argument, advanced by both the government and the opposition (occasionally in a less strident form), stems from deterrence. It’s worth considering the argument even as a handful of these detainees are ... Read More »

Rape as a political tool in India

Pane 3c

The brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from a Muslim minority group is not just about gender violence. Mariya Salim AlJazeera The gruesome rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Kathua district of Indian-administered Kashmir is a chilling reminder of how sexual assault is used as a tool to instil fear among those belonging to the… There have been many Indians, especially on social media platforms, who have repeatedly claimed that one must look at this ... Read More »

Judge rules against Trump administration in teen pregnancy prevention case

Faus 4d

A federal judge in D.C. ruled Thursday that the Trump administration’s cuts to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program were unlawful. The Hill Last summer, the administration notified 81 organizations that their five-year grants through the program would end in 2018, rather than in 2020, prompting multiple lawsuits. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled in one of those cases Thursday, ordering the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to accept and… “We are disappointed… Judge rules against… Read More »

Australia should tax and regulate cannabis, not prohibit it

Sak 1a

The decision to ban cannabis was an accident of history. There was no careful root and branch review of the evidence. Alex Wodak ABC Instead, Australia was represented at a League of Nations meeting in Geneva in 1925 where delegates from several countries decried the dangers of cannabis. As Robert Kendell outlines in his book Cannabis Condemned: “A claim by the Egyptian delegation that [cannabis] was as dangerous as opium, and should therefore be subject to the same international controls, ... Read More »

Scared state: Crime looms large but we don’t know who’s best to fix it

Wed 2b

Voters across Victoria say crime is the biggest issue facing the state, with a long-running survey finding it is a far greater concern than healthcare, transport, cost of living, education or housing. Adam Carey & Craig Butt The Age Concern about crime has surged in the past two years and is much greater now than it was when Labor came to power in November 2014. The results of April’s Ipsos Issues Monitor suggest that crime policy will do more to ... Read More »

Canberra public servant’s sacking over asylum seeker policy tweets found to be ‘unlawful’

Pey 1a

A Canberra public servant sacked for expressing her views on asylum seeker policy, has won her case for compensation after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia found she was unlawfully dismissed. Elise Pianegonda ABC In September 2013, Michaela Banerji was fired from the Federal Department of Immigration after it was revealed she had been using the anonymous Twitter name @LaLegale to criticise the then-government, the minister and department policies — particularly over the handling of refugees. In one tweet Ms ... Read More »

Legal highs: arguments for and against legalising cannabis in Australia

Highs 1a

Greens leader Richard Di Natale wants Australia to legalise cannabis for personal use, regulated by a federal agency. Nicole Lee Jarryd Bartle The Conversation This proposal is for legalisation of recreational use for relaxation and pleasure, not to treat a medical condition (which is already legal in Australia for some conditions). According to the proposal, the government agency would licence, monitor and regulate production and sale, and regularly review the regulations. The agency would be the sole wholesaler, buying from ... Read More »

Julian Burnside: “I worry where our democracy is going”

Julian Burnside in Lesbos 1a photo Supplied LLLL

Human Rights Arts and Film Festival kicks off at five cinemas across Melbourne on May 3. On May 12, the festival is screening the world premiere of Judy Rymer’s Border Politics, wherein human rights lawyer Julian Burnside AO QC travels the globe to compare how different nations are responding to the refugee crisis. Nick D TimeOut Burnside, 68, is a Melbourne-based commercial litigation barrister who became involved in human rights causes after 2001 when he was asked to act pro bono in ... Read More »

Trial by judge alone may not be the answer to giving high-profile defendants a fair hearing

Faus 2b

In April 2013, Adrian Bayley pleaded guilty to Jill Meagher’s murder. As the case was the subject of heavy media coverage, there would have been few Australians who were not well aware of it. John Eldridge The Conversation It’s worth pondering, then, what might have happened had – as was possible – Bayley pleaded not guilty. Would it have been possible to empanel a jury that could bring a fair mind to the assessment of Bayley’s guilt? If not, what ... Read More »

What the law says about a stranger taking a photo of your child without permission

Ugel 1a

Imagine this — you’re at home and in the backyard with your children. You notice a nearby neighbour begin to snap photographs of your kids. ABC Radio Brisbane Patrick Williams Naturally you’re concerned, so you call police to see what can be done only to be told that it’s legal provided no-one photographed is naked. That’s what happened to one Brisbane woman this past week. Her brother told ABC News: “My sister’s kids were working in the backyard yesterday doing ... Read More »

Syria, chemical weapons and the limits of international law

Lem 5e

Consider this shocking fact: Despite horrific images of yet another chemical weapons attack in Syria, the U.S.-led humanitarian intervention to protect civilians on April 13 was fundamentally illegal. Andrew Bell The Conversation Under current international law, President Trump lacks the authorization to launch a single missile to stop future attacks, even for the clear and just purpose of saving civilian lives. No matter how wise you consider this intervention, legal scholars generally agree that the United Nations Charter doesn’t allow ... Read More »

Somaliland poet jailed for Somalia reunification poetry

Nuce 1a

A court in the self-declared republic of Somaliland has sentenced a young poet to three years in jail. BBC Nacima Qorane was found guilty of bringing the state into contempt by advocating for Somaliland to reunite with Somalia. Pressure groups in Somaliland said Ms Qorane’s basic human rights have been violated. Somaliland self-declared independence in 1991, but is not recognised internationally. Ms Qorane was arrested in January after returning from the Somali capital Mogadishu, where prosecutors said she had recited ... Read More »

The truth hurts: why whistleblowers get such a hard time

Pesf 1a

The truth hurts. And when you blow the whistle, people get upset. Ruth Williams The Sydney Morning Herald So says Martin Woods, an anti-money laundering expert and whistleblower, who says governments, companies and wider society need to rethink their attitudes towards whistleblowers in all sectors of the economy, from compliance staff in banks to nurses working in aged… This includes compensating them for speaking up – and paying rewards for valuable information. “It’s human conditioning – the human race doesn’t ... Read More »