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The Forum > Article Comments > A wide gap between law and justice > Comments

A wide gap between law and justice : Comments

By George Williams, published 10/1/2007

It is time to get law reform back on track as a national priority.

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George,

you neglected to mention that you are actively seeking pre-selection for the Australian Labor Party. You should not assert your opinions from the putatively independent posture of academia when you have a co-extensive agenda to enter politics. It does not provide your readers with a complete account of your motivations for writing opinion pieces, and is to that extent quite misleading. Every time you publish an opinion piece you should ensure that people are conscious of your political ambitions, lest they believe your opinions are solely motivated by dispassionate research.

Readers, take note.
Posted by The Skeptic, Wednesday, 10 January 2007 9:26:51 AM
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Many Australians do not have confidence in our justice system. I am sure many feel David Hicks would get a slap over the wrist or have some clever lawyer get him off on a technicality in Australia. If the system was fair and just in Australia nearly all would want him to be tried here.
Posted by runner, Wednesday, 10 January 2007 10:26:57 AM
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Good article. I think Malcolm Frazer would agree with these points. He always said we were off track with the Republican thing as law reform and a charter, or bill of rights should be highest on priority.

We really are the last western democracy to have a bill or charter of rights. It is high time that we confirm ourselves as a democratic country
Posted by saintfletcher, Wednesday, 10 January 2007 11:39:59 AM
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The Skeptic

I wouldn't be too hard on George. I haven't met an academic yet who was dispassionate and devoid of personal ambition. Note that George's justified concern over Hicks and almost justified concern over sedition law runs across Party lines.

While I continually look forward to attempting to counter argue George's post's on anti-terror law reform I'm impressed at his interest in the topic and ability to get across many of the key concepts.

Overall this current post is excellent - showing George is concerned about the mechanics of the law for the disadvantaged rather than playing it safe and quietly making piles of money like too many "respectable" lawyers. However if George did enter politics his reformist aspiritions might dashed by vested interests and the will of the self-seeking majority of Lib-Nat and ALP lawyer-politicians who make laws.

Pete
http://spyingbadthings.blogspot.com
Posted by plantagenet, Wednesday, 10 January 2007 2:28:58 PM
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I think the situation is a lot worse that George makes it out to be, especially at the lower end of the scale, as it affects us in our everyday activities.

For example, speed limits arenít observed or enforced at face value. There are many laws like this that are essentially different to what they are supposed to be, despite perfectly black and white cutoff points as expressed in written law and in the case of speed limits on signs everywhere.

It is much worse with respect to many minor laws, which are simply not observed or policed at all.

Then there is the issue of police discretion, which gets abused prolifically, resulting in subjective and unfair charges being laid for some people while others get away with just the same thing.

And then there is the need for one to often have to prove or very strongly indicate their innocence in a court of law, rather than the onus of proof or guilt beyond a reasonable doubt having to be shown by the prosecution...which is supposed to be one of the fundamental tenets of our democracy.

All this results in normal people not respecting the law and only respecting what they think they can get away with.

I can add one more layer to this debacle; the very strong negative reaction from a large portion of the community to any improvement in law abidance, with the often-expressed view that we would become a police state, or country, if we did.

Itís an unholy mess.
Posted by Ludwig, Wednesday, 10 January 2007 10:01:41 PM
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FAIRNESS AND EQUITY - building futures for ALL!

Sustainable Development must be made socially just in Australia.

There can be NO sustainable development without justice.

JUSTICE IS THE FIRST PRINCIPAL OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT!

Unfortunately - profit is the prime concern of the dominant development model. Social justice is secondary. If we want a shift towards sustainable development the decision-making consideration must move from profit motivation to social justice as its priority.

Social justice is necessary for all policies, trade and transactions both locally and globally.

Without more community (legal) centers, whole communities are left vulnerable to dysfunctional cultures - silo's, bullies and structural reproductive violence which is a key factor contributing to community breakdown in many regions of Australia .... if not ALL.

For this reason.... people fear the LAW rather than utilise it's litigation and true purpose.

In reference to David Hicks.... He (like ALL Australains) has a RIGHT to be protected under Australian International law. I strongly disapprove of the Governments neglect, and handling of his true circumstance.

In essence Australia's paradigm needs to move to one that is socially just, ecologically regenerative, economically viable, politically participatory, culturally vibrant, and spiritually fulfilling.

http://www.miacat.com/
Posted by miacat, Wednesday, 10 January 2007 11:08:32 PM
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