As of today, 1 July 2015, it is illegal for current or past staff, now or in the future, to speak, write, talk about the conditions inside Australian Detention Centres, on or offshore.
complicity /kəmˈplɪsɪtɪ/ noun (pl) -ties 1. the fact or condition of being an accomplice, esp. in a criminal act.
It feels self interested to say it like this when people are suffering. How has it come to this - Democracy as populism, the right to individual consumption and debt given the highest priority. Voting as if shopping for the best deal on material pleasures.
Gillian Triggs in her speech for the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta posed the question:
“What are the proper limits on the power of Parliament?”
This is a question that remains a live one for contemporary Australian democracy.
Over the last 14 years or so, the major political parties have agreed with each other to pass laws that threaten some of the most fundamental rights and freedoms that we have inherited from our common law tradition.
Indeed, respective governments have been remarkably successful in persuading parliaments to pass laws that are contrary, even explicitly contrary, to common law rights and to the international human rights regime to which Australia is a party.
Particularly since the 9/11 attacks in 2001 on the United States, Australian parliaments have passed scores of laws that infringe our common law freedoms of speech, association and movement, the right to a fair trial and the prohibition on arbitrary detention. These new laws undermine a healthy, robust democracy, especially when they grant discretionary powers to executive governments in the absence of meaningful scrutiny by our courts.
What then are the safeguards of democratic liberties if parliament itself is compliant and complicit in expanding executive power to the detriment of the judiciary and ultimately of all Australian citizens? What are the options for democracy when both major parties, in government and opposition, agree upon laws that explicitly violate fundamental freedoms under the common law and breach Australia’s obligations under international treaties?"
Professor Gillian Triggs is the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission. Triggs addressed the Alice Tay lecture in law and human rights on the 15th June 2015 in Canberra, marking the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.
Read the full lecture at the Guardian.