If Senate won’t defeat #DataRetention bill terrorists and criminals will: @sortius comments






With the federal government’s metadata retention bill having passed the lower house, and all but assured to pass the senate, the technical implications are still sketchy at best. Costing an estimated $400 million a year (a figure that will no doubt be revised up substantially), the legislation isn’t a cheap exercise in flag waving like the government’s almost daily announcements. The implications for internet users will be extensive, affecting every aspect of their daily use of data services. From Facebook and Twitter updates, to downloading the latest episode of your favourite show (legitimately or not), to playing your favourite online game, everything will be monitored, providing you don’t use services […]






Torture report makes @IntlCrimCourt action against @TonyAbbottMHR’s #auspol likely: @jansant reports






On Monday, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, released a report (below) that found Australia in violation of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). The report found multiple violations and identified the systematic nature resulting from government policy. Juan Mendez, is a survivor of torture and former special advisor on crime prevention to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (@IntlCrimCourt) in The Hague (ICC). The Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR), responded by declaring, Australians are “sick of being lectured to by the United Nations”. Abbott also claimed the United Nations would “have a lot more credibility if […]






International human rights body tells @TonyAbbottMHR #IStandWithGillianTriggs. @Jansant reports






The International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) has written (full text below) to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR), expressing “grave concern” about recent Government attacks on the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Gillian Triggs (@GillianTriggs). The letter was carbon copied to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the concerns shared with other members of the International Coordinating Committee. The letter states: Mr Prime Minister, Professor Triggs is highly respected within the international human rights community having held a distinguished career in law, including in the area of legal education. She is held in […]






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






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 book […]






Senate Bingo! The @sarah_capper column






A whole new class of players joined the Upper House this month, and with a record number of cross-benchers – 18, including the Greens – there will be deals-a-plenty and the “spin cycle” on overdrive. Cards will be kept close to chests; cards will be put out on the table; and, as the last week has shown, cards will just as quickly be taken away. While PUP leader Clive Palmer appeals to pensioners by saying he will block the Government’s $7 GP co-payment, so that “those ladies” can “have their chocolate and go to the cinema”, let’s crunch the critical numbers with a round of ‘Senate Bingo’. [Insert archaic rolling wheel of bingo […]






Creating communities with a common voice: @burgewords interviews @TheArtsParty






  Motorists, shooters and fishers have all got one, so have sex enthusiasts and christians. Why not creatives? Micro political parties have leapt into the Australian voters’ consciousness like never before, and right at the launch of this column, one of our readers tipped us off about the imminent formation of a new party named The Australian Arts Party. They’ve been getting their act together, the people behind Australia’s newest micro party, but what else would we expect from a collective of creatives? Digital producer and Arts Party Australia founder and registered officer, PJ Collins, spoke to No Fibs. We’ve grown tired of waiting for a positive win-win, cross-party parliamentary voice […]






Digging up the drama: @1moretalk reports the demise of the Environmental Defender’s Office






By Graeme Gibson  @1moretalk For nearly 30 years Michael and Margaret (not their real names) have lived on their block outside a small north Queensland sugar town. During the sugar harvesting season they put up with a lot of truck traffic, and, being on an unsealed road, a lot of dust. “It’s so thick sometimes I reckon you could see it from space,” Michael said. He and Margaret are in their 70s, with health problems worsened by the dust. In June 2013 Michael rang the sugar mill to ask if something could be done. He was told to call the transport contractor. After a few calls he felt he was […]