Tag: Questioned

National Times – Photo on The Australian front page ‘risks… willing witnesses

May be an image of 2 people, newsroom and text that says 'News Corp Austoa The head of the inquiry into the ACT police investigation of the Bruce Lehrmann allegations said he could not see the proper purpose' for The Australian's page one photograph of Shane Drumgold. Photograph: Paul Miller Miller/AAP'

“My real worry is that the witnesses who’ve been willing to help me will think that this is part of the price [of cooperation] – being stalked to their home, photos taken unawares, of being made fun of in the national media. If that’s the personal cost, why would anybody willingly be a part of this?

Source: National Times – Photo on The Australian front page ‘risks interfering’ with Lehrmann probe, head of inquiry says ( Ben Doherty and Amanda Meade and The Guardian)

Shouting down your opponents just cements the silos

A letter to Andrew Bolt from Julia Baird and it’s polite. What Bolt calls “free speech” is privatized product and locked in contracted speech. The merger of Ch 9 and Fairfax will concentrate media into 2 companies controlling 82% of our media and consolidating speech supporting  less than 5% of the nation who can afford to buy the advertising space and skewed to content supporting the LNP. We need the ABC more than ever and the LNP are intent on insuringthe demise of the public broadcaster. The only broadcaster devoted to the principle of free speech and questioning the veracity of those making it. Tony Abbott put the nail in the coffin of Radio Australia the once heartbeat of the Pacific by cutting ABC funding by $200mill and 1985 levels. Since then with our disintersest in Foreign Aid we have simply given that space to China and are now blaming the Chinese for what was obvious in order to retain some domestic votes at the expense of what was a once positive relationship. Turnbull is the highest paid PM in the world nothing but the best for he and the LNP spells nothing for Australia. (ODT)

It would be far better if think tanks were legally required to reveal all funding, so we can best assess contributions to public debate. This includes the likes of the Australia Institute, the McKell Institute, the Centre for Independent Studies and the Sydney Institute, as well as the IPA.

The Australian media landscape is increasingly spotted with large silos and part of the reason for that is the fact that a large number of prominent conservative commentators – like Chris Kenny, Ross Cameron, Rowan Dean – have exclusive contracts with Sky and will not appear elsewhere.

It also means that some of the loudest critics of the ABC can’t or won’t come on the flagship daily panel show (The Drum) just to discuss ideas. Some conservatives ask for money to appear. Some will say privately that they don’t want the attack, that there is little incentive to cross silos just to be abused on Twitter.

Some examples: in recent months, Kenny and Cameron, we’ve asked Janet Albrechtsen – who politely declined – Rita Panahi – who said The Drum was a “terrible show” – and Gemma Tognini- who has a contract with Sky – to come on the show. I won’t name them all as our door remains chocked open (Gerard Henderson, I am looking at you).

Silos are about gathering armies, about attack, and the casualties are civility and persuasion. It’s taking more and more muscle to carve out public spaces for argument, not antagonism, and for talking, not trolling.

If you have only conviction without persuasion, you won’t convince anyone.

via Shouting down your opponents just cements the silos

Australian Opposition to Capital Punishment Questioned

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s political opposition accused the government of winding back the country’s rejection of the death penalty during a heated debate Thursday following Indonesia’s execution of two Australian drug traffickers.

The execution by firing squad of eight drug convicts, including the two Australians, has rekindled fiery criticism of the role that Australian police played in 2005 in tipping off their Indonesian counterparts about a plot led by the two men to smuggle more than 8 kilograms (18 pounds) of heroin from the resort island of Bali to Sydney.

The two men, Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 34, were executed Wednesday. Other members of the so-called Bali Nine ring they masterminded received lengthy prison sentences.

Australia retaliated by withdrawing its ambassador from Jakarta, but ruled out downgrading its cooperation with Indonesian police, which it regards as a crucial defense against global terrorism.

Critics argue that Australia weakened its anti-capital punishment credentials when it failed to criticize Indonesia in 2008 for executing three Indonesian terrorists responsible for bombings on Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

The opposition Labor Party on Thursday accused the government of playing down Australia’s opposition to the death penalty in its latest directive to the Australian Federal Police on how it should cooperate with other police forces including Indonesia.

Labor questioned why Justice Minister Michael Keenan had removed from his latest directive a requirement that the police “take account of the government’s longstanding opposition to the application of the death penalty in performing its international liaison functions.”

The directive, issued last May, outlines the government’s priorities and expectations for the police force.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said the directive undermined protocols aimed at preventing Australian police cooperation from leading to the execution of Australians overseas.

He told reporters that Labor wants to make sure that such executions “can’t happen again.”

Government ministers angrily reiterated their government’s opposition to the death penalty and accused Labor of seeking political advantage from executions that angered many Australians.

“I’m pretty outraged and offended that the Labor Party would use the tragedy of two Australians being executed to make what is an incredibly cheap and invalid point,” Keenan said.

“We abhor the death penalty,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters, adding that “Australia’s stand on the death penalty is an issue we can discuss with other nations in our region.”

But independent Sen. Nick Xenophon said the government needed to explain why it had removed its objection to capital punishment from its police directive.

Australian law forbids the government from extraditing a suspect unless the country seeking extradition guarantees that the person will not be executed. But Australian police can provide intelligence to foreign police that enables investigators to charge a suspect with a capital offense.

Guidelines on death penalty investigations require that Australian police managers consider a list of factors before sharing such information.

The list includes the nationalities of suspects and “Australia’s interest in promoting and securing cooperation from overseas agencies in combating crime.”

The guidelines were introduced in 2009 in response to the Bali Nine case. The government said on Thursday that they still apply.

But there are concerns that the new directive reduces the emphasis on preventing executions.

The Federal Court in 2006 dismissed a law suit by Bali Nine families that alleged Australian police had acted unlawfully by tipping off Indonesian police. Senior police have never conceded any wrongdoing.

But lawyer Bob Myers said that while Australian police broke no law, they were responsible for the two Australians’ deaths.

Myers had approached a police contact in 2005 to ask that Scott Rush, a family friend who was 19 years old when he was arrested with the Bali Nine, be prevented from flying to Bali.

Rush was initially sentenced to death, but later had his sentence commuted to life.

“They gave these people to the Indonesians, knowing what the consequence was going to be, on a platter,” Myers told Australian Broadcasting Corp. television on Thursday.

Lawmaker Clive Palmer, who leads a small party outside the governing coalition, proposed legislation on Wednesday that would ban Australian officials from disclosing any information that could lead to any Australian facing execution overseas. It would not protect foreigners.

Amnesty International said in a statement Thursday that “Australia and its agencies must take a consistent and principled stance against the death penalty in all circumstances, no matter who the person is and what they are charged with.”

Anti-death penalty advocate Matthew Goldberg said Australian opposition to the death penalty had “hardened” since 2008 when Indonesia executed Bali bombers Imam Samudra, Amrozi Nurhasyim and Huda bin Abdul Haq.

Then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a vocal opponent of capital punishment, said at the time that “They deserve the justice that we delivered to them.”