Australia

Civil society calls for human rights reforms as new government comes to power in Australia

On 21st May 2022, Australia’s Labor party claimed victory in the national election, ending nearly a decade of conservative government. Civil society groups had been calling for civic space reforms in recent months. This include a greater commitment to press freedom as Australia’s press freedom rankings drop and the existence of national security and defamation laws that have made the journalism more difficult. There are also calls for the reform of whistleblowing laws and to drop the prosecution of three whistleblowers. There are also concerns about new and planned anti-protest laws as well as the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. Read more

Civil society calls for human rights reforms as new government comes to power in Australia

Electoral law passed that will stifle charities in Australia while targeting of activists persists

In recent months electoral laws were passed by parliament to impose more regulation on charities during elections while a joint NGO report highlighted the suppression of climate defenders. At the same time the senate disallowed proposed regressive changes to the NGO regulation that would have handed the Charities Commissioner extraordinary and far-reaching powers while lawyers slammed the secrecy around a judgment in the case of a whistleblower, Witness K who is being prosecuted for disclosing information about the bugging of Timor-Leste government buildings in 2004 Read more

Electoral law passed that will stifle charities in Australia while targeting of activists persists

Conviction of whistleblower, new NGO regulation another blow to civic freedoms in Australia

In recent months, a whistleblower was convicted for disclosing information about the government bugging of Timor-Leste government buildings. The government has also put forward new regulation that allows harsh sanctions to be taken against NGOs for minor offences. Anti-lockdown protests have persisted across the country. Read more

Conviction of whistleblower, new NGO regulation another blow to civic freedoms in Australia

Whistleblowers still facing prosecution in Australia, new harsh sanctions against charities proposed

Whistleblowers continue to face prosecution, while the federal government is currently pursuing regulatory change to allow for the deregistration of charities in cases where staff commit minor of legal breaches. Protesters continue to face arrests but a a dangerous anti-protest law was voted down in Tasmania’s upper house. Read more

Whistleblowers still facing prosecution in Australia, new harsh sanctions against charities proposed

Australia commits to press freedom reforms, better whistle-blower protection around UN review

In recent months, the government has made commitments to adopt reforms on press freedom and whistle-blower protect following inquries. The courts have highlighted concerns on government’s attempt to use national security powers to obstruct a whistle-blower engaging a barrister. Thousands came out for 'Invasion Day' protests with some arrests while an intelligence bill allowing for detention of children was rushed through parliament. Read more

Australia commits to press freedom reforms, better whistle-blower protection around UN review

Secret whistle-blower hearings, overreach of security laws and arrest of protesters in Australia

Over the last few months concerns have been raised by civil society over the prosecution of the lawyer of a whistle-blower that would be held in secret. The Australian Human Rights Commission has warned of overreach with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2020, and human rights groups have raised concerns to the UN about problematic national security laws that undermine civic freedoms. Further, arrests of protesters have continued to occur in various cities in Australia. Read more

Secret whistle-blower hearings, overreach of security laws and arrest of protesters in Australia

Continued concerns about privacy and freedoms in Australia, following civic space rating downgrade

The Australian government has continued to introduce bills that could undermine fundamental freedoms. These include the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2020 that expands counter-terrorism powers and the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (International Production Orders) Bill 2020 which raises privacy concerns. Further, the coronavirus contact tracing app has raised human rights concerns while Australia’s press freedom ranking has dropped. Read more

Continued concerns about privacy and freedoms in Australia, following civic space rating downgrade

Smear campaign against green activists, anti-protest laws and media restrictions in Australia

In recent months the Prime Minister has vilified environmental groups while a law is being debated on political donations and election spending that could be used to silence civil society groups. Anti-protests laws have been passed in Queensland and may soon be enacted in Tasmania. Journalists continue to campaign against restrictions on press freedom while the authorities are urging Facebook to stop end-to-end encryption plans. Read more

Smear campaign against green activists, anti-protest laws and media restrictions in Australia

Freedoms at risk in Australia with media raids, silencing of whistleblowers and arrest of protesters

In the last few months, press freedom has come under attack with raids by the authorities on the media for their reporting on government actions. Two whistleblowers who exposed government spying are facing prosecution while climate change protesters have been arrested and charged for their activism. Read more

Freedoms at risk in Australia with media raids, silencing of whistleblowers and arrest of protesters

New Australian law to crackdown on violent videos on social media may lead to censorship

In April 2019, the government passed legislation to crackdown on violent videos that critics believe could undermine freedom of expression. In February 2019 aboriginal activists occupied the Parliament foyer around environmental issues; in March 2019, activists protested a coal mine owned by Indian multinational Adani while in April 2019, animal rights activists organised coordinated protests against the meat industry. Read more

New Australian law to crackdown on violent videos on social media may lead to censorship