On innocence… lost?

By Rewi Lyall Firstly, I was relatively pleased to see Joe Hockey on Lateline a few days ago talking, amongst other things, about CCTV. He’d given a speech earlier in the evening where he had apparently expressed some disquiet about the spread of cameras, but offered as an exception to this general position support for […]

Private surveillance

By Rewi Lyall In the light of suggestions that Japanese whalers have, through a third party, hired aircraft to conduct surveillance on anti-whaling group Sea Shephed, the ABC reports that Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard is seeking legal advice on the issue. Professor Don Rothwell has already said, though, that there seems little recourse under […]

Of pimps, prostitutes, dealers and freedom

By Rewi Lyall In an earlier post I briefly discussed the issue of civil rights in Australia, particularly as to how we justify infringing rights in order to deal with specific segments of society. It’s a distinctly worrying trend, but when the decision of the Western Australian government to grant police the power to stop […]

A case of child marriage in Indonesia

By Rewi Lyall Some of you may not be aware of a recent case in Indonesia involving child marriage. A cleric, Syech Puji, was charged with child sexual abuse under the Child Protection Act and the Criminal Code, for marrying a 12 year old girl. Last week, before the Undangan District Court, he was acquitted […]

Conventional arms trade treaty – towards less limited limitation?

By Rewi Lyall To date, treaties regulating the conventional arms industry have been largely limited to banning specific types of weapon, be that exploding bullets, chemical weapons and most recently landmines. Controlling the trade in more run-of-the-mill things like guns and bullets has only really been considered worth attempting in the past couple of years. […]

Against Indigenous autonomy

Last week I got involved in a debate on the Pollbludger which was sparked by one poster there who set out a range of acts a government could pursue that might alleviate social and economic disadvantage faced by Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders. The debate swerved off into a couple of other areas, some […]

Terrorism or treason?

These are some initial observations on the facts as far as I have been able to determine them from media reports. There is no question that the provisions of the Commonwealth Criminal Code pertaining to terrorism, under which men arrested as a result of raids in Melbourne last week were charged, are sufficiently wide to […]

In Australia, they came first for the terrorists… or, why don’t Australians care about rights?

Somehow it doesn’t quite have the same ring, but the sentiment behind the famous poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller (with apologies go to the deceased Pastor) about effects of the rise of Nazism in Germany on their political opponents and societal enemies appears to be driving criticism of enhanced police powers in parts of Australia. […]

Outrage must follow Coroner’s report into another death in custody

The Western Australian Coroner, Alistair Hope, has handed down his findings into the death of an Aboriginal elder in January 2008. The man was being transported from Laverton to Kalgoorlie. As the ABC has reported, the man ‘was effectively cooked to death‘. The Coroner has been damning, and the focus should now turn to the […]

A time for war

This is, obviously, a huge issue and one that I’m not going to thoroughly cover in one post, but it’s pretty important to the consideration of other related subjects and so warrants initial discussion.  As a general principle, I am opposed to war. I’ve always considered myself a pretty pacifistic person, and have been known […]

Voluntary human shields

Last year a paper of mine was published in the Melbourne Journal of International Law. The paper was originally written for the ‘International Criminal Law’ unit I was studying for a Masters degree specializing in International Law at the Australian National University. The title of the article is ‘Voluntary Human Shields, Direct Participation in Hostilities […]


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