Category: Law

The case for pill testing

Over the New Year’s period two party goers have fatally overdosed at music festivals around the country, renewing the debate about pill testing which has become a contentious issue in New South Wales.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has taken a firm stance against pill testing in the wake of the two fatal overdoses and over 700 requiring drug related medical treatment at Defqon1 late last year.

Berejiklian has since softened her stance on pill testing after the deaths over New Year’s and is now open to considering the possibility of pill testing at future music festivals in the state. It is still unclear, however, if public money will be used to supply pill testing services or venue operators will be permitted to operate their own pill testing services privately, or with cooperation from outside institutions.

The current response to drugs in music festivals in both New South Wales … Read the rest

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High tobacco taxes linked to crime spike

Another convenience store worker has been attacked in what has become an increasingly common occurrence. Criminals, lured by the sky-high value of cigarettes due to the government’s Tobacco Excise, are robbing local shops to get their hands on them. It has become “tobacco first then cash” according to Jeff Rogut, chief executive of the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores. Tobacconists in Queensland have also expressed concerns for the safety of themselves and their stores, with one man’s shop being hit twice in a week by thieves targeting cigarettes. New Zealand has faced the same crisis, with aggravated robberies soaring by 87% between 2016 and 2017 and then-acting Prime Minister Winston Peters criticising high tobacco taxes in his country for much of that rise.

This hardly comes as a shock. History shows that aggressively taxing a product is a surefire way to create a black market and contribute to increased … Read the rest

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Is there anything wrong with ‘liking men’?

I’m not one to support defamation law, and indeed neither should those on the left. It is, for practical purposes, a tool almost exclusively for the rich and powerful, used in many cases to stifle criticism, the McLibel case being one famous example.

In addition, on principle, it’s a bizarre law in that makes it illegal to encourage someone to do something which is completely legal. It’s quite legal to think bad things about someone, even if those things are not true. Whilst we have laws against encouraging illegal behaviour (like inciting violence), it’s nonsensical to have laws against encouraging something we consider an acceptable legal action in our society.

Encouraging someone not to break the law should not be illegal itself.

Indeed the idea that you’re allowed to think things, but no-one is allowed to talk to you about those things, seems frighteningly authoritarian.

But defamation law does exist. … Read the rest

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It’s the law that needs to change, not men

A little over a week ago as I read of the callous rape and murder of Melbourne comedian Eurydice Dixon a familiar fury boiled inside me. The right of all human beings to life, liberty and security is a cardinal component of my morality. As she walked through a park in “the world’s most liveable city”, Eurydice Dixon had those rights ripped from her in a brutal and horrifying manner. Ms Dixon was a few years older than my eldest daughter. News of her slaying sent a shiver through my core, as it did for thousands of parents of young women who wish to exercise their fundamental right to go about their business unmolested.

In the days following, a number of lengthy and confronting lists of “things that women do that men don’t have to think about” circulated social media detailing the lengths women go to in order to avoid Read the rest

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Eurydice Dixon: we’re trying to fix the wrong problem

The murder of Eurydice Dixon in Melbourne last week is a tragedy, as is every murder of an innocent person. The randomness of this attack makes it all the more haunting and my heart goes out to her family, friends, and fans.

We’ve seen this before. The murder of Jill Meagher bears gut wrenching similarity both in the crime, and in the reaction. The randomness of the attack, the rape and murder, the public outcry, the marches and vigils.

But we’re making the same mistake we did after the Jill Meagher murder, and every other random murder of an innocent woman: We’re ‘fixing’ the wrong problem, and that leaves the REAL problem un-fixed.

The mistakes are many, but let me articulate the ones that undermine our efforts to actually protect women:

A: We’ve made this a ‘group’ issue, but all violence is committed by an individual, against an individual. We … Read the rest

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Internet privacy: why the government is not going to help, and what we should do about it

Recent debate around internet privacy and sharing of user data has resulted in  a lot of blame, but no real solutions. The truth is that governments have a vested interest in collecting data on citizens. It may seem like they don’t like their citizen’s data being misused, but in the end it is much easier to ask Facebook for data on an individual than it is to collect it themselves. As consumers, what can we do to stop our data being shared, without giving up on the digital world altogether?

Free As They Want You To Be

Facebook and Google are the two sites from which most internet users begin every session. The amount of data they collect on individuals is staggering, assigning each user a unique ID from which they keep a virtual dossier on every search, every post, every click. They are companies which run for profit, as Read the rest

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Abortion clinics and the death of Liberalism

Everyone should be uncomfortable and upset in a liberal society.

Some will be upset when they proudly see two married men holding hands and kissing in public. Some will be upset when they need to choose another photographer when a strongly religious Christian or Muslim photographer refuses them service.

Some will be upset by speech that seems to promote Islamic fundamentalism. Some will be upset by speech that seems to promotion white nationalism.

Some will be upset by abortion being freely and legally available. Some will be upset by being shown medical images of the procedure they are about to undertake.

When we approach these difficult issues in our society, both sides should lose.

Liberalism not a utopian philosophy. It’s far from perfect. It’s messy, and no-one is entirely happy with it. And that’s the way it should be. You have to put up with people doing things you despise, … Read the rest

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How safe is your house from confiscation?

People regularly talk about things being “as safe as houses” and the great Australian dream of owning your own home is now a reality for more and more people, but how safe are law abiding citizens when it comes to government confiscation laws?

If you think the suite of confiscation laws brought in under recent governments, Labour and Liberal alike, are only there to tackle major criminals – the so-called king-pins of organised crime, and the ‘Mr Bigs’ of the drug trade – then perhaps it’s time for a reality check.

Take the case of Ms Nguyen, who I met earlier this month (and with whom I’m pictured above). A single mother and a factory worker earning close to the minimum wage, she is fighting to stop the DPP from selling her house out from under her. This person has no criminal record; not so much as a parking ticket … Read the rest

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Brutality exposes dark heart of Australian police culture

The shocking footage of a Victorian pensioner being beaten outside his home by police has highlighted a festering blight that taints governance in this country, revealing some very dark truths about how we citizens can expected to be treated by those who wield the gun and the baton over us. Concerned for his welfare as he came off his pain medication, the carers of the pensioner, only identified as John, called the authorities and half a dozen police officers were dispatched. Despite the fact that John asked the officers to leave, saying he wanted to be left alone, the police told him that they would break down his door if he didn’t let them in. Once he unlocked the door, the police pepper sprayed him, dragged him out of his home and to the ground, beat his leg with a baton, and then six of them pinned him to the Read the rest

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