Money has swamped Qld politics, and that endangers democracy: @Graeme_Orr #qldvotes comment

Money makes the world go round.  That’s a truism in a market economy.   The promise of democracy – one vote, one person, one value – ought to balance that.   But what if money makes the political world go round? Nothing less than the fate of electoral democracy is at stake if we let money swamp politics.   Swamps have formed again in Qld and NSW, as they do periodically elsewhere. Last week ‘50 prominent Australians’ published an open letter beseeching Queensland’s parties to agree to 4 governance and accountability principles.  It was motivated by concerns that Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission, judicial independence and political finance laws have been weakened recently. […]

Time to be Alert … And a little bit Alarmed? – the @sarah_capper column

Yes, that’s right, last week Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the Government was raising Australia’s ‘terror alert’ status to ‘high’.  While technically this means a terrorist attack on Australian soil is now regarded as “likely”, the PM was quick to clarify that “this does not mean that a terror attack is imminent. We have no specific intelligence of particular plots.” Fast forward one week as Australians woke to the news of police raids on houses in Sydney and Brisbane. Almost 900 police were involved with 15 people detained and at this stage, one charged with conspiracy to prepare an attack, another charged with weapons offenses. Based on media reports, the […]

Labor’s Mark Dreyfus QC takes stand on #freespeech: Abbott and Brandis honour Voltaire only in the breach

[clear] The Coalition will never waver in its defence of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. — Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) March 13, 2013 Oh the terrible irony for George Brandis QC in fronting the latest Abbott Government attacks on free speech through its terror legislation. Brandis was one of several moderates in the Howard Government who stood firm behind liberal principles to oppose its draconian anti-terror legislation in 2002. As editor of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Webdiary I documented the true Liberal dissenters fightback in great detail; indeed it was their dissent which enabled the Labor Party to risk adding its voice to the debate. And in my […]

A crisis of confidence: @BowlerBarrister on the #CarmodyCrisis #qldpol

By Ross Vernon Bowler LLB Barrister-at-Law The Rule of Law Queensland is a democratic society. Within that democracy Queensland has chosen to make the rule of law a constituent part of its justice system and therefore its societal structure. In its simplest form the rule of law endeavours to ensure justice for all according to law by placing no one above the law. Adhering to such a societal structure does not always come easy and is not without its challenges. However a society without rules quickly becomes no society at all. The rule of law underpins constitutional power in Queensland. At any given time within a community embracing the rule […]