december 2012 - Queensland Council for Civil Liberties

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					     DECEMBER                                                                                                    2012
President’s Report............2-4
                                                  President’s Report
Election of Office Holders...4
Powers of ASIO................4-7
Council news........................8             Annual General Meeting
Book review.                                        18 November 2012
Freedom of
Information ....................9-11
Keeping in touch................11
                                                                                 Michael Cope
Membership Form.............12

———————————–                                 This will be my 7th report as the President of the Council. As I’ve advised the Ex-
                                             ecutive, I will not be standing for re-election this coming year.
Executive                                    I wish to thank the members of the Executive for their continuing support and for
President:       Andrew Sinclair
Vice Presidents: Terry O’Gorman              their support over the last 7½ years. Whilst I will not be seeking re-election as
                 Julie Jansen                President, I will be available to work for the Council.
Secretary:       John E Ransley
Membership Secretary:                        As is usual, the work of the Council this year has largely fallen on the shoulders of
                 Betty Mason                 a small group of people, namely:
Treasurer:       John Drew
Assistant Treasurer: Ashley Carle            John Ransley, Betty Mason, Daemon Singer, Beryl Holmes, Eddie Clarke, Julie
Auditor:         Katherine Barnet            Jansen, Angela Dahlke, Terry O’Gorman, Andrew Sinclair, and Roger Byrom.
Executive Members:
Tina Riveros (Assistant Secretary)           Once again, I acknowledge the pro bono assistance of Kate Barnet and Ashley
Angela Dahlke, Daemon Singer,                Carle of Bentleys. Kate Barnet is an insolvency practitioner, and Ashley is an audi-
Will Kuhnemann, Michael Cope,
Beryl Holmes.                                tor. Obviously, members are encouraged to make use of their services if the need
Executive Support Group:
Roger Byrom, Helen Kerr, Debbie              I also acknowledge the assistance of Peter Billings and his students of the Univer-
Kilroy, Bill Lane, Kate Volk, Pam            sity of Queensland for providing valuable research assistance.
Wilson, Robert Gallo.
                                             I expect that meetings of the Executive will continue to be held at McKays Solici-
                                             tors. Any financial member of the Council is welcome to attend those meetings
——————————————--                             and can contact me on either or on 0432 847 154 for a list
Correspondence:                              of Executive meetings to be held next year.
GPO Box 2281,                                Members can also participate by contributing articles for the newsletter. Anyone
Brisbane, Q. 4001
                                             who wishes to contribute articles should contact Mr Eddie Clarke via email: ised-
                                    or via letter:15 Diosma St. Bellbowrie.
——————————————--                             Daemon Singer has also established and maintains a web based forum for discus-
Newsletter Editor:                           sion of topics by Council members. That forum is located at http://
Eddie Clarke
The editor welcomes any articles,  
notices etc. on any aspect of civil
liberties for inclusion in the newslet-      Members can also participate by attending seminars organised by the Council. As
ter. Please forward to:                      was the case last year, the attendances at the two seminars run this year have pre-
Email:               sented a very significant contrast. Unfortunately, the internet privacy seminar was
Letter: 15 Diosma St., Bellbowrie,           attended by at most 30 people, whilst the debate on euthanasia attracted approxi-
           Q 4070
                                             mately 100 participants.
A review of the financial reports tabled at today’s           History Prize
meeting will show that once again this year the Coun-
                                                              The Council agreed to sponsor a prize to be awarded
cil has recorded a loss of approximately $1,000.00.
                                                              by the Queensland History Teachers’ Association for
This loss has been incurred in running the functions to
                                                              the best essay on the Champions of Civil Rights in
which I have referred. Both functions involved costs
                                                              History. The prize was won by Victoria Poon for her
of flying speakers from interstate. Whilst we try our
                                                              essay on the role of Charles Perkins in the freedom
best to locate local speakers on topics, it is not always
                                                              rides of the mid 1960s.. Julie Jansen represented the
                                                              Council at the school and presented the prize. In my
The policy of the Executive has been to charge very           view, this is an important exercise and the Council
low admission fees to these events for the purposes of        should continue to support the prize.
encouraging more people to attend. The experience is
that we always get new members out of these events
which is an important secondary function for them.            Freedom to Protest
However it is clear the Council cannot afford to lose
$1,000.00 a year. Either we need to start charging            The Council stated its opposition to the arbitrary and
more for these functions or to increase the annual            unjustified decision to close down the Occupy Bris-
membership dues. I have been active on the Executive          bane protest. This seemed to be the start of a number
of the Council for about 20 years and only once in that       of measures signifying a renewed lack of support for
time have membership fees have been increased. It             the basic democratic right to protest in this state.
seems to me that in all the circumstances a modest
increase in the fee for single members of $5.00 is ap-        The Speaker of the Queensland Parliament has taken
propriate. However, I am open to the views of the             measures which will result in people being excluded
meeting on this topic.                                        from the public gallery. In our view the Speaker’s
                                                              approach to this matter is fundamentally inconsistent
As is traditional with these reports I now propose to
                                                              with basic democratic principles. The Parliament is
review the issues addressed by the Council in the pre-
                                                              the Peoples’ House and the people should be entitled
vious year.
                                                              to be present to see it functioning unless there is a seri-
                                                              ous threat of violence or actual violence or disruption
                                                              to the House which prevents it from functioning prop-
Gay Marriage                                                  erly. We would not consider a few noisy protestors to
The Council expressed its support for the principle of        fall into either category. None of the events which
marriage equality. It did so by supporting the previous       sparked this change in policy by the Speaker appeared
State Government’s Civil Partnership Legislation as,          to be any worse than previous events.
whilst not sufficient, it was a significant first step hav-
ing regard to the constitutional limits on the powers of      In addition, the Government’s action against Indige-
the State Government. It supported the private mem-           nous people in Musgrave Park was entirely unjustified
bers Bills in the Commonwealth Parliament to achieve          and excessive.
marriage equality. It condemned the decision of the
Newman government to repeal the Civil Partnership
Legislation.                                                  Sentencing
                                                              The Council continued its opposition to minimum
                                                              mandatory sentencing, this time in the form of mini-
Right to Information                                          mum non-parole periods. The Council noted with
The government supported a private member’s Bill              considerable disappointment that the previous govern-
introduced by the now Attorney-General Mr Bleijie to          ment chose to reject the recommendations of its own
overturn a decision of the Supreme Court which held,          independently appointed Sentencing Council.
contrary to the stated intention of the previous govern-
ment, that the Right to Information Act did not extend
to wholly owned government companies incorporated             Public Interest Monitor
under the Corporations Act. We note that the govern-
                                                              The President participated on the Committee to select
ment has not yet carried out its promise to implement
                                                              the new Public Interest Monitor.
that legislation. We call upon the government to do
A story in the Courier Mail of 16 November 2012               Non violent sexual advances
suggests the government is considering major and re-
gressive changes to the Right to Information Act, one         The President and Tina Riveros represented the QCCL
of the major reform achievement of the Bligh govern-          on the Committee established by the previous Attorney
ment. The QCCL will need to be vigilant in this area.         -General and chaired by former Justice John Jerrard to
                                                              consider a proposal to exclude from the defence of

2                                                                                  QCCL Newsletter December 2012
provocation non-violent sexual advances. The Council         Lying to Parliament
opposed this proposal.
                                                             The Council opposed the Newman government’s leg-
                                                             islation to reinstate the offence of lying to Parliament.
                                                             The Council considered this to be an unjustifiable in-
                                                             terference with freedom of speech and has the poten-
The Council continued to campaign on the privacy             tial to involve the courts in political matters which are
issue on a number of fronts. It wrote to the Privacy         best dealt with inside Parliament.
Commissioner seeking a report on progress in intro-
ducing the recommendation of a Senate Committee for
the introduction of the Do not track Legislation in          Increased ASIO Powers
                                                             The Council made a submission to the Joint Commit-
On the issue of body scanners at airports, the Commit-       tee on Intelligence and Security opposing the govern-
tee made a submission opposing the introduction of           ment’s astonishing proposals to once again increase
the body scanners as a gross invasion of privacy and         the powers of ASIO and the Australian Federal Police.
an unnecessary diversion from more effective meas-           The Council noted that, since 2001, there have been 45
ures for the protection of the flying public. The Coun-      pieces of legislation giving ASIO new powers.
cil argued that, if the proposal was to proceed, they
should include additional privacy safeguards namely:
                                                             One of the most astonishing aspects of this proposal is
      The machines only to be used in relation to           to store the communications data of every Australian
       people about whom there is some reasonable
                                                             for two years. This would create a honey pot to which
       suspicion and a pat down search should be op-
                                                             would be attracted every petty bureaucrat with a desire
       tional; or
                                                             to make their life easier. There has been no proper
      Alternatively, the Canadian model should be           justification given for this measure. The General Pet-
       adopted which provides that passengers who            raeus case reveals how easy it is for government to
       have already been through a metal detector and        access emails.
       who, either for cause or at random are asked to
       go through a second security screen, at which
       point passengers would be given the choice to         Criminal Justice Matters
       pass through the scanner or submit to a pat           The Council opposed government legislation which
       down search.                                          would charge an administration fee to all persons con-
The Council, whilst noting a number of other privacy         victed of an offence in Queensland. It was noted that
protections which had been agreed to by the govern-          the previous government has substantially increased
ment, expressed its concern that they were not con-          civil filing fees without good reasons. In its submis-
tained in the legislation and therefore could be re-         sion, the Council expressed its concern that, in these
moved by administrative fiat.                                days of straightened financial circumstances, there was
                                                             a very serious risk that Queensland would head down
The Council wrote to the Commonwealth Privacy                the road of states such as Florida in the United States.
Commissioner expressing concerns about proposals to          Here the courts have become a vehicle for the collec-
introduce an electricity smart grid. The response from       tion of revenue in a way which has a serious prospect
the Privacy Commissioner was entirely unsatisfactory.        of giving them an economic incentive to convict peo-
Given the continuing calls for this type of technology       ple. This is an issue which will need to be watched
to be introduced, it is my view that the Council needs       carefully for future developments.
to be particularly vigilant in relation to this issue. The
facts of the matter are that electricity these days is al-
most as essential as water. It is my view therefore that     Asylum Seekers
a special privacy regime needs to be introduced in re-       The Council made a submission to the joint expert
lation to the smart grid so that consent is not sufficient   panel reviewing Australia’s Asylum Seekers policy.
for the release of information given that many people        Much of the change in the Asylum Seekers policy is
might be prepared to agree to that in order to make          driven by alleged compassionate concern for refugees
sure that they have electricity. The legislation, as has
                                                             who drown at sea. The Council argued that this is a
been proposed by the American Civil Liberties Union          furphy. If anyone is morally culpable for people who
and Electronic Frontiers Federation should specify a         drown in unsafe boats, it is the people who put them
number of narrow grounds for the release of informa-         on those boats. The appropriate response is not to use
tion.                                                        one group of people to deter another group of people
                                                             but to work to implement a proper policy for the proc-
                                                             essing of those who out of desperation are forced to

QCCL Newsletter December 2012                                                                                       3
take desperate measures for their own safety and that
of their family members.

Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC)
The Council criticised the government’s proposals to
reduce the powers and the budget of the CMC. Whilst
the Council has been critical of the CMC on a number
of grounds, in particular of the merger of the police
corruption investigations with the organised crime               Members at the AGM having their lunch
functions, it is clearly our view that the CMC is a fun-
damental piece in the post Fitzgerald armour for the        The powers of ASIO—a threat to Aus-
prevention of police and other corruption.
                                                            tralian democracy and civil liberties
Consistent with our concerns that the CMC is a stand-
ing Royal Commission, the Council has taken the view        The outgoing President , Michael Cope, remarked dur-
that investigations should be conducted in private          ing his report that the Gillard federal government was
unless and until charges are laid. If this were done, it    proposing to increase ASIO powers even more than it
might also address some of the fears of the politicians     currently held. He referred to the NSW Civil Liberties
that the organisation is being used as a political tool.    Council which had launched a national campaign
The Council has long argued that the most sensible          against ASIO powers which was an encroaching threat
reform of the CMC is to remove its police and other         to Australian democracy and liberties. He stated that
official corruption investigating functions to a separate   the QCCL had indicated to the NSW Council that
body, and to staff that body with its own investigators     QCCL would join in this campaign.
so that it is no longer dependent upon the police to
carry out investigations.                                  The opening shots of this campaign appeared in an
                                                            address, ‘ASIO powers rotten at their core’, given by
                                                            Prof Williams to the NSW Council for Civil Liberties
AGM Election of Office Holders                              Beri and Ken Buckley Memorial Dinner, 19 October
President:          Andrew Sinclair                         2012, launching that body’s campaign against the
Vice Presidents:    Terry O’Gorman and Julie Jansen         ASIO counter-terror laws. George Williams AO is one
Secretary:          John Ransley                            of Australia’s leading constitutional lawyers and pub-
Membership Secretary: Betty Mason                           lic commentators. He is the Anthony Mason Professor,
Treasurer:          John Drew                               a Scientia Professor and the Foundation Director of the
Assistant Treasurer: Ashley Carle                           Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the Faculty of
Auditor:            Katherine Barnet                        Law, University of New South Wales. As an Austra-
Executive Members:                                          lian Research Council Laureate Fellow, he is engaged
Tina Riveros (Assistant Secretary) Angela Dahlke,           in a five-year international project on anti-terror laws
Daemon Singer, Will Kuhnemann, Michael Cope and             and democracy. Prof Williams is a member of Civil
Beryl Holmes                                                Liberties Australia.
Executive Support Group:
Roger Byrom, Helen Kerr, Debbie Kilroy, Bill Lane,
                                                            ASIO powers rotten at their core
Kate Volk, Pam Wilson, and Robert Gallo 
                                                            By Professor George Williams
Change of Presidents
After meritorious service as President for 7 years, Mi-     I have been asked to launch the campaign against the
chael has stepped down. He is continuing his contribu-      extraordinary powers granted to Australia’s secret in-
tion to the Council as an Executive member.                 telligence organisation, ASIO. These powers are the
                                                            most controversial of the anti-terror laws enacted by
The new President is Andrew Sinclair, Barrister-at-         the Australian Parliament in the wake of 11 September
Law, who previously was a Vice-President. During            2001.
his career, Andrew was engaged in the Fitzgerald In-
quiry; was founding President of the Environmental          We responded to those attacks with a frenzy of law-
defenders Office of Northern Queensland; was a vol-         making. In the following decade, the Federal Parlia-
unteer contributor to the Cairns Community Legal            ment passed 54 pieces of anti-terror legislation, with
Centre; taught law at James Cook University; after          48 of them passed under the watch of the Howard gov-
returning to Brisbane, conducted investigations and         ernment, an average of one new anti-terror law every
reviews into many aspects of State and Local Govern-        seven weeks. As one international commentator put it,
ment Practices while engaged by the Crime and Mis-          Australia’s response was one of hyper-legislation. We
conduct Commission.                                        even exceeded the United Kingdom, the United States,
4                                                                              QCCL Newsletter December 2012
and Canada in the sheer number of new antiterrorism              to the powers granted to ASIO. These were granted in
laws enacted since 9/11.                                         the wake of the understandable anger, fear and grief
                                                                 that beset Australia after September 11 and the Bali
However, the numbers only tell part of the story. Of             bombings. At the time, I described the ASIO Bill as
greater importance is the reach of the laws in introduc-         rotten to the core and one of the worst Bills ever intro-
ing things such as:                                              duced into the federal Parliament. Similarly, the Par-
       restrictions on speech through sedition laws and         liamentary Joint Committee on ASIO unanimously
        new rules of censorship;                                 stated that it would undermine key legal rights and
       the banning of organisations by government               erode the civil liberties that make Australia a leading
        decree;                                                  democracy.
       control orders that can enable house arrest for
        up to a year;                                            Despite this, the powers were enacted after a bitter, 15
       detention without charge or trial                        month national debate. Today, the law permits ASIO
        for up to 14 days;                                       to seek two types of warrants.
       covert surveillance of non-
        suspects; and                                           1. A Questioning Warrant:
       warrantless searches of private                               Compels a person to appear for questioning by
        property by police officers.                                   ASIO where there are reasonable grounds for
                                                                       believing that issuing the warrant will substan-
As these examples demonstrate, excep-                                  tially assist the collection of intelligence that is
tional powers and sanctions thought to      Collectively, these        important in relation to a terrorism offence.
lie outside the rules of a liberal democ- laws represent the          It is not necessary that the proposed subject is
racy except during wartime have now                                    suspected of committing any crime, or that the
become part of Australian law. They           greatest assault         intelligence sought may enable ASIO to pre-
were passed in fulfillment of the rheto- on civil liberties            vent a terrorist act.
ric of the war on terror, a conflict with-                            A person could be called into questioning in
out a foreseeable end.                       in Australia since        order to have them provide information about a
                                                                       family member, or a journalist about a source,
                                               World War II.
Collectively, these laws represent the                                 or a priest about what they have heard in con-
greatest assault on civil liberties in                                 fession.
Australia since World War II. Much of                                 Failure to give ASIO the information, records
the heat has now gone out of the terrorism debate, and                 or things it requests is a criminal offence pun-
the attention of our federal politicians has moved onto                ishable by five years imprisonment.
other matters, but the laws remain on the statute book.               The person has no right to silence or privilege
This is not just a problem when it comes to the terror                 against self-incrimination, though information
laws themselves. Unfortunately, these extraordinary                    gathered through questioning cannot be used
powers are becoming seen as normal, and so applied                     directly in criminal proceedings against them.
elsewhere.                                                            Questioning can carry on for up to 24 hours,
                                                                       which is typically split over several days.
An example is the extension of the control order re-
gime from our national anti-terror legislation to so-           2. A Detention Warrant:
called anti-bikie laws (this is of course a misnomer as               Further empowers a police officer to take the
the laws do not mention bikies, and can be applied to                  subject into custody for up to a week, during
any group). In South Australia, Premier Mike Rann                      which the person may be searched and, subject
justified this by saying: We’re allowing similar legisla-              to certain criteria, strip searched.
tion to that applying to terrorists, because bikie groups             Detention can be sought in a number of
are terrorists within our community.                                   grounds, including because the person may not
                                                                       appear at the time required for questioning or
Laws of this kind are now spreading throughout the                     may destroy, damage or alter information
country, and are also encouraging the roll out of new                  sought by ASIO.
offences for guilt by association and consorting. The                 While in detention the person may be prevented
danger is that the exceptional powers granted to com-                  from contacting his or her friends, family, em-
bat terrorism are being used by state governments to                   ployer and medical professionals.
prosecute the law and order debate. They are becom-
ing part of the state legislators’ toolbox for demon-           Under both warrants:
strating to the community how they are tough on                       The subject may be barred from contacting his
crime.                                                                 or her lawyer of choice on national security
                                                                       grounds. The subject may be questioned before
This possibility is especially frightening when it comes               their lawyer arrives and so before they have

QCCL Newsletter December 2012                                                                                            5
       received legal advice.                              for ASIO. Imagine the outcry if it was suggested that
      A subject’s lawyer (like the subject him or her-    the NSW police should have the power to hold people
       self) is not told why the warrant was issued, is    incommunicado for a week in order to extract informa-
       not permitted to ask questions, cross-examine       tion from them about their family members.
       or intervene in questioning ... except to request
       clarification of an ambiguous question, and         2. ASIO is not a suitable body to be given such
       may be ejected if deemed to be disrupting pro-      powers
      Most communication between a subject and his        ASIO is a covert intelligence gathering agency. It is
       or her lawyer must be capable of being moni-        not a law enforcement body. As such, it is not subject
       tored by ASIO thereby limiting access to legal      to the same checks and balances and public scrutiny as
       professional privilege.                             a police force. If ASIO is to be granted coercive police
                                                           -like powers, it should be subject to the political and
Broad ‘Secrecy Provisions’:                                community scrutiny and controls that apply to a police
     Apply while a warrant is on foot and, in some        force. However, this is not compatible with its intelli-
      cases, for two years after it expires.               gence gathering work. These powers, even if they
     A journalist cannot report:                          could ever be justified, are simply not appropriate to
      - ‘information (which) indicates the fact that       ASIO.
          the warrant has been issued or a fact relating
          to ... the questioning or detention of a per      3. The ASIO powers go further than similar legis-
          son in connection with the warrant’; and         lation in other countries
      - ‘the information that the Organisation has or
          had’.                                            Despite the fact that Australia faces a lower threat of
     This applies to everyone not just persons sub-       terrorism than many other nations, the ASIO powers
      ject to a warrant. If the person making the dis-     go further than equivalent legislation in the United
      closure is the subject of a warrant or their law-    Kingdom, Canada and even the United States PA-
      yer, the offence is one of strict liability. Any     TRIOT Act. Only Australia has authorised the deten-
      breach of the provisions is an offence punish-       tion in secret of non-suspect citizens.
      able by five years imprisonment.
     In addition, the ASIO Act prohibits the publica-     I often speak about anti-terror laws internationally, and
      tion of any information which indicates the          people from other countries such as these are stunned
      identity of a (current or former) ASIO officer       to hear that we have a law in place of this kind. No
      without the Director-General or Attorney-            such law was ever contemplated in those countries, in
      General’s consent. The penalty for this is one       part because they have strong legal protection to hu-
      year imprisonment.                                   man rights.

The campaign                                               4. The powers are not needed

There are many things that need to be changed about        ASIO Director General David Irvine said last year that
our anti-terror laws. My view is that it makes sense to    his agency responded to literally thousands of counter-
focus now on ASIO’s extraordinary questioning and          terrorism leads and are currently involved in several
detention powers for the following five reasons:           hundred counterterrorism investigations and inquiries.
                                                           Despite this, as its recent annual report shows, these
 1. The law should not permit the detention in se-         powers were not at all used by ASIO last year. In fact,
cret and coercive questioning on pain of imprison-         only one Questioning Warrant has been issued since
ment of Australian citizens not suspected of any           2006, and ASIO has never used its power to detain
crime                                                      someone.

This is inconsistent with the most fundamental democ-      The inescapable conclusion is that ASIO does not re-
ratic and legal principles. Australians should not be      gard the powers as particularly useful. The warrants
detained by the government beyond an initial short         are not needed in the fight against terrorism. ASIO and
period, except as a result of a finding of guilt by a      agencies such as the Australian Federal Police already
judge or as part of the judicial process (such as being    have the powers they need at their disposal. They also
held in custody pending a bail hearing). There are         run counter to the work of ASIO more generally. For a
grave dangers in allowing a government to bypass the       covert agency, questioning and detaining someone
courts, especially where a secret government organisa-     naturally tips that person off that they are under sur-
tion is involved.                                          veillance.

It would not be acceptable for a state police force to     There is also the possibility that using the detention
detain people in secret for some days, nor should it be    power will lead to a community outcry (should people

6                                                                              QCCL Newsletter December 2012
become aware of it ). The case of Dr Mohamed Haneef          Voluntary Euthanasia Seminar
demonstrates how the use of extraordinary powers that
contravene accepted community standards can cause
considerable damage to the reputation of government          This was held on 19 September 2012. Voluntary
agencies.                                                    Euthanasia is a policy supported by the QCCL.
                                                             The Moderator was Professor Colleen Cartwright
I should also say that the fact that these powers are not    The speakers were Yuri Koszarycz, Former Senior
being used does not justify their retention. The long        Lecturer in Bioethics, Australian Catholic University
experience of the law shows that a power may lay dor-        and Neil Francis, Chairman and CEO YourLas-
mant for some time, only to be called into action in the
future, potentially by an unscrupulous government 10,
20 or even 50 years down the track. It is also the case      Neil Francis presented the case for Voluntary Euthana-
that, so long as a power such as this remains on the         sia. His expertise spans thirty years of medical re-
statute book, it provides tempting precedent for law-        search, information technology, management market-
makers in other fields.                                      ing and education. He is President of the World Fed-
                                                             eration of Right to Die Societies.
 5. The powers are vulnerable to strong campaign
against them                                                 Presented below is a brief summary extracted from his
                                                             convincing and graphic power point presentation.
If any of the key aspects of Australia’s anti-terror laws
are to be wound back, the ASIO powers are the most
likely. Not only are they fundamentally inconsistent         Section 1:
with community values, they are also temporary. The             provided some truths including:
powers were regarded as so extraordinary, even com-                Death can be painful and prolonged.
pared to Australia’s other anti-terror laws, that a three-         Some doctors help aid-in dying even when it is
year sunset clause was included when they were en-                  illegal.
acted in 2003. However, in 2006, the Commonwealth                  Reasons for requests for aid-in-dying.
Parliament renewed the powers and added a new 10-                  Existence of Aid-in-dying models elsewhere in
year sunset clause.                                                 the world.
                                                                   Most Australians want aid-in-dying legalised.
The regime will now expire on 22 July 2016. If the                 Reasons why not legal yet.
government of the day does not act, the laws will sim-
ply lapse. This means that inertia favours repeal. This,
combined with the extreme nature of the provisions,
makes them a strategic and sensible choice for what to
target by way of a campaign to wind back Australia’s                        Most Australians want
anti-terror laws. The ASIO powers are the right place                       aid-in-dying legalised.
to start.


It is hard to generate political will on the part of any     Section 2:
government to wind back any aspect of Australia’s               refuted misinformation opposing aid-in-dying.
anti-terror laws. With this in mind, a campaign fo-
cused on ASIO’s powers provides an im-                       Section 3
portant opportunity.                                            Discussed:
                                                                   3 models of aid-in-dying in Switzerland, Bene-
The ASIO powers remain rotten at                                    lux countries, and Oregon, Washington, USA.
their core. They confer unprecedented                              Presented a program of action for us to follow
powers on a secret intelligence agency                              to have aid-in-dying legalised.
that could be used against the Austra-      The powers
lian people by an unscrupulous govern-
                                             are more
ment.                                                        An impressive bibliography of 33 entries was pro-
                                                             vided. 
The powers are more consistent with       with the
the apparatus of a police state, such as
General Pinochet’s Chile, than the laws apparatus of            If you think that you are too small to have an
of a modern democracy. They have no a police state              impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.
place in Australia, and should be re-                                                            Anita Rodick
pealed. 
QCCL Newsletter December 2012                                                                                    7
 QCCL prize for school essay on                                             Book Review
         civil liberties                                   Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet
                                                           by Julian Assange with Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Mul-
On 6 November 2012, Julie Jansen, a Council Vice-          ler-Maguhn and Jeremie Zimmermann. OR Books,
President, presented to Victoria Poon an essay prize of    New York, 2012, 186 pages. This is now available in
$150 sponsored by the Council and a certificate            paperback and e-book.
awarded by the Queensland History Teachers’ Asso-
ciation for the best essay on the Champions of Civil       The term "cypherpunks" refers to activists who make
Rights in History. Julie presented the prize and the       use of coded writing or cryptography in an effort to
certificate at the school assembly of St Aidan's Col-      bring about progressive change. In its "about" intro
lege.                                                      OR Books notes that "Julian Assange, the editor-in-
                                                           chief of and visionary behind WikiLeaks, has been a
Civil liberties issues form part of the school's History   leading voice in the cypherpunk movement since its
curriculum. Victoria Poon researched the impact of         inception in the 1980s."
Charles Perkins and the Freedom Rides upon growing
social awareness of inequities in the treatment of In-     The OR intro goes on to say: "... Assange brings to-
digenous Australians. Given that this category was         gether a small group of cutting-edge thinkers and ac-
open to students in Years 11 and 12, Victoria should       tivists from the front line of the battle for cyber-space
be very proud of her efforts. Victoria's prize winning     to discuss whether electronic communications will
essay can be accessed via the QCCL website:                emancipate or enslave us."
                                                           The book sees the internet moving into a critical phase
Julie informed Council members that she found St           in which web freedom is under threat from forces that
Aidan’s College impressive and that the staff were         seek to exert increasing levels of surveillance and con-
wonderful.                                                 trol.

                                                           OR Books:

                                                           Among the topics addressed are: Do Facebook and
                                                           Google constitute "the greatest surveillance machine
                                                           that ever existed," perpetually tracking our location,
                                                           our contacts and our lives? Far from being victims of
                                                           that surveillance, are most of us willing collaborators?
                                                           Are there legitimate forms of surveillance, for instance
                                                           in relation to the "Four Horsemen of the Infopoca-
                                                           lypse" (money laundering, drugs, terrorism and por-
                                                           nography)? And do we have the ability, through con-
                                                           scious action and technological savvy, to resist this
Julie Jansen presenting the prize                          tide and secure a world where freedom is something
and the certificate                                        which the Internet helps bring about?

Review of the Council                                      That is the crucial question... which direction are we
                                                           headed given the momentous changes underway. The
                                                           prospects don't look promising. Technological devel-
In 2013 the Council intends to review and strategically    opments have placed enormous power in the hands of
assess its branding, logo, public, published and online    government. Strategic mass surveillance is a new real-
images and present some ideas for attracting more          ity, something that would have been difficult to con-
Member interaction and stronger membership numbers         ceive a decade ago.
and presence at meetings and events.
                                                           Cypherpunks is partly based on interviews Assange
The strategy will take several months to develop. With     conducted with his three co-authors for the eighth and
substantial Council input and Member feedback, we          ninth episodes of his RT show "The World Tomor-
                                                           row." There is also new material included in the book.
can hopefully steer the Council to a bolder, more dy-
namic future that involves and encourages the next         The co-authors include Jacob Appelbaum (a Tor Pro-
generation of voters, citizens and members.               ject developer and research scientist at the University
                                                           of Washington), Jérémie Zimmermann (co-founder
                                                           and spokesman for the citizen advocacy group La
                                                           Quadrature du Net.), and Andy Müller-Maguhn (head
8                                                                              QCCL Newsletter December 2012
of the Cryptophone company and a member of Ger-              predict. ... The latter threatens the fabric of liberal de-
many's Chaos Computer Club).                                 mocracy and the rule of law."

------------                                                 In commenting on the book Oliver Stone stated:
                                                             "Cypherpunks is gripping, vital reading, explaining
The view of the web as a vehicle for borderless com-         clearly the way in which corporate and government
munication and progressive political change, fails to        control of the internet poses a fundamental threat to
take into account the downside. Revolution-by-Twitter        our freedom and democracy."
may make a great sound bite but the less advertised
truth is that the web is increasingly being deployed as      John Pilger noted that - "The power of this book is that
a tool for political repression. Social media is also be-    it breaks a silence. It marks an insurrection of subju-
ing used more frequently for propaganda purposes.            gated knowledge that is, above all, a warning to all."

There is increasing concern about the use of the inter-      For those who missed "The World Tomorrow" discus-
net for surveillance and control in western countries        sions featuring Julian Assange and co-authors I'm
where individual rights have been front and center.          posting parts 1 and 2.
Concerns about terrorism, urban unrest, commercial
crimes, intellectual property issues, illegal content are    Book review by Jay Cables in Drive by Planet Nov 27
used by governments and other parties as justification       2012. This review has been reproduced here under the
in pushing for ever-greater controls over the web.           Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works
                                                             2.5 License. 
Tools for web traffic analysis can be deployed to en-
hance surveillance and control capabilities. When you
look at the UK's $2 billion plus plan for a snooping         Right to Information
dragnet to track email, Twitter, Facebook and other
web use it's an indicator that profound changes are in       The right to information has been one of the issues
the works. In Russia the parliament unanimously en-          pursued by the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties.
dorsed a bill that gives government greater control          The Council has noted that the government supported
over the internet. In the United States the anti-file        a private member’s Bill introduced by the now Attor-
sharing legislation SOPA and ACTA put users on no-           ney-General Mr Bleijie to overturn a decision of the
tice about what is at stake.                                 Supreme Court which held contrary to the stated inten-
                                                             tion of the previous government, that the Right to In-
Persecution of activists has been taken to a new level,      formation Act did not extend to wholly owned govern-
as demonstrated by the vicious campaign against As-          ment companies incorporated under the Corporations
sange and WikiLeaks. In a recent article Glenn               Act. We note that the government has not yet carried
Greenwald describes the ways in which WikiLeaks              out its promise to implement that legislation. The
was targeted following its decision to publish US dip-       Council believes that the government should now do
lomatic cables:                                              so.
                                                             A story in the Courier Mail of 16 November 2012 sug-
Over the past two years, then, this group - convicted of     gests the government is considering major and regres-
no crime but engaged in pathbreaking journalism that         sive changes to the Right to Information Act one of the
produced more scoops than all other media outlets            major reform achievement of the Bligh government.
combined and received numerous journalism awards -           The QCCL will need to be vigilant in this area.
has been effectively prevented from functioning, re-
ceiving funds, or even maintaining a presence on US          A council member has written to the Council outlining
internet servers.                                            an issue which he has been pursuing and has expressed
                                                             his frustrations in getting all the information which he
Other Cypherpunks authors have also been at the re-          had a right to obtain:
ceiving end of law enforcement scrutiny. The book is a
warning - a wake-up call that is both timely and pre-        Need for FOI on the murky waters of
scient.                                                      Queensland water supplies
Assange:                                                                                                 Don Stewart

"CYPHERPUNKS is not a political manifesto. There             The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) wa-
isn't time for that. It is instead an attempt to raise the   ter agreement of the Beattie- Howard era states that,
alarm. Few have noticed but we now live in the once-         by having any cross subsidies transparent and by sepa-
imagined futures of our darkest science fiction. Tech-       rating water from land, the water will be able to move
nology we do not understand surrounds us. Without            more easily to the highest value use via the market.
understanding it we are vulnerable in ways we cannot
QCCL Newsletter December 2012                                                                                              9
Such policies would also allow allocation holders to             When someone blew the whistle on this astroturfing,
have the option of running their own schemes so that             the editor was replaced. It is also important to note that
the price of water could be as world production com-             Cairns has only one major newspaper, and the amount
petitive as possible while being fully cost recovery.            of expenditure by the three levels of Government in
                                                                 the Cairns Post would be considerable.
In response to this COAG water agreement, the
Queensland Government gave birth to Sun-                                    There were no facts/figures in the Cairns Post
water Corp, the State’s water managers, and                                 Green Hydro power astroturfing because
we have schemes, such as Tinaroo Dam, with                                  there are none to be had: an August 2011 FOI
                                                   There were no facts/
gravity fed water so expensive that many                                    request for the Hydro & environment Tinaroo
farms partly pay their Sunwater account with figures in the Cairns Dam releases is with the Information Com-
off farm income; and the price of water is                                  missioner who says he may release the post
                                                    Post Green Hydro
determined by the Queensland Government                                     2009 Information Act information but defi-
rubber stamp, the Queensland Competition            power astroturfing      nitely not the pre 2009 Act as he does not
Authority (QCA) as there is no Australian                                   have the power to do so.
                                                     because there are
Competition and Consumer Commission
(ACCC) for water north of the Murray Dar-             none to be had        The Barron River Resource Operating Plan
ling Association ( MDA) Murray Darling                                      (ROP) is supposed to be where stakeholders
Basin.                                                                     can have an input, and it is coming up for its
                                                                  10 year review. But it is difficult for people to have
The new Queensland Government has appointed a                     meaningful input when they do not know how much
panel of representatives from the various schemes to              Tinaroo Dam water is dumped in the ocean at Cairns
look at the motivation and the possibility of introduc-           after being used once at a secret subsidised price by
ing Local Management, and there has been a 100%                   Stanwell Barron Hydro Corp.
positive response. But it is a bad sign that the Queen-
sland Government has accepted the latest water price              It is very important to note that Stanwell Barron Hydro
review of the QCA which does not take into considera-             declines to use any of the spare irrigators water via
tion the cross subsidy by Tinaroo Dam irrigators of               The Temporary Transfer system. It is also important to
Stanwell Barron Hydro electricity. The annual reports             note that Tinaroo Dam is very high up in the Barron
of Sunwater reveal that there are up to 70,000ML (A               River which managed very well without environment
megalitre (ML) = 1 million litres) in some years of               releases before the dam was built.
unused Tinaroo Allocation on which irrigators have
paid the Part A Sunwater charge which has been                    Fair comment would be where is our tax funded Aus-
approx 50%, and the QCA is recommending it goes to                tralian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) research
95%.                                                              journalists, the Crime and Misconduct Commission,
                                                                  the Ombudsman, The Environmental Defenders Office
Mareeba Dimbulah irrigators have a little extra water             (Qld) Inc., and the farmer organisations? The Rudd
above their requirement for a normal year so they have            Government made grants to the States to upgrade and
sufficient in a dry year when they need extra for their           standardise water market reporting, but a Queensland
long cycle high establishment crops such as trees &               Government source of information on current water
sugar cane. When Tinaroo Dam does not fill in a mod-              market prices <
erate wet season, irrigators have their Nominal Alloca-           market_info.html water market> web site is confusing
tion reduced, so it was irrigators’ insurance water that          as the Tinaroo Dam water is described as supple-
went through the hydro in the previous water year with            mented Barron water. The ABC have a one hour
the Part A paid up quarterly in advance.                          weekly rural report called Landline which makes no
                                                                  mention of water, so there is little wonder that the
In 2011 there was a Mulgrave anti aquifer uprising in             banks in Queensland will not recognise water as secu-
Cairns as the Council sought to implement their ‘least            rity unless it is attached to land.
cost option’ coastal aquifer scheme which now seems
to be shelved. It is important to note that the coastal           So much for this valuable resource the media keep
aquifer scheme was to be largely funded by the Queen-             telling us about. The two most recent proposed Queen-
sland Government.                                                 sland dams, Connors River and Traviston Crossing,
                                                                  had an average yield cost of $17,000 per ML, and the
Also in late 2011, there was a pro-green hydro energy             Tinaroo Dam permanent gravity fed allocation, which
astroturfing campaign, unsupported by any facts or                is used for industry, urban, hydro and leisure, sells for
figures, run in the Cairns Post Letters to the Editor             $850 per ML. The COAG agreement says the cost of
section (Astroturfing refers to political, advertising or         water allocation from any new water asset should re-
public relations campaigns that are designed to mask              flect the cost of the asset.
the sponsors of the message to give the appearance of
coming from disinterested, grassroots participants).

10                                                                                    QCCL Newsletter December 2012
Having opposed the lack of transparency created by
the 2009 FOI Act when in opposition, the new Queen-
sland Government has not made a move to rectify this
lack of transparency. Instead it has much to say about

                                                           Readers are encouraged to use the QCCL
                                                           website,, for information
              Having opposed the lack of                   and the Internet Forum set up to enable a free
           transparency created by the 2009
            FOI Act when in opposition, the                flow of conversation between members.
           new Queensland Government has
            not made a move to rectify this                Our internet forum can be found by ctr. +
                 lack of transparency.                     click and to get
                                                           active all you need to do is click on the but-
increasing food production. It seems we have reached       ton at the top right which says "Register".
a point where our tax funded organisations are work-       The system will take you through a number
ing against our interests or turning a blind eye when it   of processes to get registered, but basically
comes to the hand that feeds them regardless of which      within a few hours you can be online in the
party is in Government. 
                                                           forum making your views public.

                                                           For more detailed information, refer to the
Justice ‘game’ means powerless                             article, ‘Internet Forum Details’, in the Octo-
go to jail                                                 ber 2011 Newsletter. 

This article was posted in the CLA newsletter 28 No-
vember 2012. A brief summary is provided below:
                                                                          BEQUEST FORM
                                                           One of the ways by which members can as-
CLA member Barbara Etter, who has law, police, and
                                                           sist the Council is by considering leaving a
other formal integrity and academic qualifications,
recently gave a topical address to the ANZ Society of
                                                           bequest in their will. Set out below is an ap-
Criminology. She expressed the belief that we con-
                                                           propriate form of words:
stantly need to reflect on the notion of justice and the
methods of ensuring that justice is truly served. She      “I give............................ to the members of
asserted that justice had to be more than a ‘game’.        the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties
Presenting a well substantiated case, she called for       (an incorporated body) at my death for the
police to change their crime investigative model, and      benefit of the Council and I direct that the
for governments to create Criminal Cases Review            receipt of the secretary for the time being of
Commissions.                                               the Council shall be sufficient discharge to
                                                           my executors.
Etter believes that these
changes have become neces-                                 If, at my death, the Council has incorporated
sary because Australia seems                               or amalgamated with another body, the gift
to be facing increasing mis-      people who are not       shall be construed as a gift to the incorpo-
carriages of justice cases:       guilty are jailed for    rated body or to the members of the body
people who are not guilty are      years, sometimes        with which the Council is amalgamated and
jailed for years, sometimes             decades            the receipt of the secretary or the treasurer
decades, the guilty go free,                               for the time being of the incorporated body or
and relatives suffer major                                 amalgamated body shall be a sufficient dis-
trauma, sometimes twice and
                                                           charge to my executors.”
thrice over. 

QCCL Newsletter December 2012                                                                                      11
     About QCCL
     The Queensland Council for Civil Liberties is a voluntary organisation concerned with the protection
     Of individual rights and civil liberties. Our aims are to:
                Be vigilant in matters affecting civil liberties and to safeguard and develop respect for
                 human rights and freedoms.
                Expose abuses of civil liberties; publicly opposing laws and actions that undermine civil
                Educate citizens and inform them about threats to their rights and liberties; encourage
                 public discussion on civil liberties issues.
                Seek solutions to problems relating to civil liberties, including prison reform, anti-terrorism,
                 sedition, rights of minority groups, abuse of police powers and women’s rights.

                       Queensland Council for Civil Liberties

                       GPO Box 2281 Brisbane Qld 4001                                                                                                                                  Affix

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12                                                                                                                                          QCCL Newsletter December 2012

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