An ‘Ethics Commissioner’ without ethics: welcome to Australia

An ‘Ethics Commissioner’ without ethics: welcome to Australia

Yesterday, Thursday I received a phone call from Captain Fred Martens, the man who spent a 1,000 days in jail, having been wrongly convicted of an offence under Australia’s Child Sex Tourism Laws. His conviction was later quashed by the Queensland Court of Appeal (“QCA”). At all times Captain Martens has maintained his innocence. Captain Martens has further maintained that he was a victim of a corrupt Australian Federal Police ...

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Theft and racism, the festering sores in Canberra

Theft and racism, the festering sores in Canberra

For some years now I have been considering the concept of complicity. What constitutes complicity, how far does it extend, where does responsibility for wrongdoing cease? You can all blame me for putting the idea in Bakchos’ mind; his knowledge of philosophy and my practical view of the world result in many discussions ranging somewhere between law, moral conduct and personal accountability. My mind is geared to science. An analytical ...

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Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority, the concept of corporate accountability

Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority, the concept of corporate accountability

This case arises from the petitioners’ claim that Azzam Rahim was detained, tortured, and killed by “the security forces of the Palestinian Authority” in late 1995, around the time the Palestinian Authority assumed responsibility for certain territories pursuant to internationally brokered peace agreements. The Palestinian Authority had its genesis in the 1993 Oslo Accords, in which Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (“PLO”) agreed that it was: time to put ...

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Martens, Moti and the ‘rule of law’ in Australia

Martens, Moti and the ‘rule of law’ in Australia

Captain Fred Martens, whom I have written extensively about on Blak and Black in the past, was employed as a commercial pilot flying light aircraft within PNG and between PNG and Australia. In 2004 Captain Martens became a victim of Australian Federal Police (“AFP”) corruption and/or incompetence, which resulted in the loss of his business interests in PNG, the loss of his freedom (he was incarcerated for nearly 1,000 days ...

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Corporate crimes against humanity a product of our global economy

Corporate crimes against humanity a product of our global economy

Crimes against humanity, torture, prolonged arbitrary detention, extrajudicial executions — all of those human rights norms are defined by actions. They’re not defined by whether the perpetrator is a human being or a corporation or another kind of entity. Paul Hoffman representing the 12 Nigerian petitioners in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum The issue in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum an issue central to the lives of many indigenous people ...

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Human dignity and the idea of justice, part 1

Human dignity and the idea of justice, part 1

The idea of human dignity consists in recognizing that man is a being that has ends proper to himself, his own ends, to be freely complied with by himself. Or putting it in other words, maybe clearer, man ought not to be treated as a mere means for ends which are not his own, which are strange or alien to him for ends which do not belong to him. Although ...

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The Jayapura Five: Our choices and actions do affect the lives of others

The Jayapura Five: Our choices and actions do affect the lives of others

Little fly, Thy summer’s play My thoughtless hand Has brushed away. Am not I A fly like thee? Or art not thou A man like me? For I dance And drink and sing, Till some blind hand Shall brush my wing. If thought is life And strength and breath, And the want Of thought is death, Then am I A happy fly, If I live, Or if I die. William ...

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Racism in Australia's criminal justice system

Racism in Australia’s criminal justice system

The clock has been turned back on racial progress in America, though scarcely anyone seems to notice. All eyes are fixed on people like Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey who have defied the odds and achieved great power, wealth and fame Michelle Alexander Michelle Alexander former director of the Racial Justice Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argues persuasively in her recent book The New Jim Crow: Mass ...

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Racism and the politics of power

Racism and the politics of power

Racial classification today is commonplace; people routinely catalogue each other as members of this or that race, and seem to assume that everyone can be thus classified Bernard Boxill, “Introduction” in Bernard Boxill, editor, Race and Racism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 1. While Boxill’s statement is seemingly self-evident and benign, it’s very ordinariness conceals something much more sinister. Once we begin routinely cataloguing one another we leave open the ...

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Australian Constitutional reform

Australian Constitutional reform

Following on from the discussion of belonging and what the Australian flag represents to many Indigenous Australians, this post gives consideration to the current debate about acknowledgement of Australia’s Aborigines in the Constitution. “The Constitution did not attempt to sum up the Australian ethos — just as well, since that has changed considerably over one hundred years. The Constitution is simply a statement of the legal terms on which the ...

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Am I not a man and a brother: A campaign for someone else’s rights

Am I not a man and a brother: A campaign for someone else’s rights

In the late afternoon of May 22, 1787, a group of a dozen men officially assembled at James Phillips’ bookstore and printing shop located at 2 George Yard, London. While the bookstore and printing shop have been replaced by a modern glass and steel building, home of Adelphi Capital, the idea that 2 George Yard gave birth to lives on. ‘Lives on’ is perhaps not the right phrase for the ...

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Genocide in West Papua, collective responsibility and the role of Ernst & Young

Genocide in West Papua, collective responsibility and the role of Ernst & Young

The TNI under Suharto was seen as different from other armies because: Indonesian army sees itself as quite different from other armies in the world, because it was never created as an instrument of the state, but was itself involved in the creation of the state. Thus the military considers itself the embodiment of Indonesian nationalism. In theory, it remains above the state, and technically does not consider itself answerable ...

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West Papua and the vote of no choice!

West Papua and the vote of no choice!

These feelings which we Cubans have already acquired will have to be shared by someday. Today it hurts us if a Cuban is hungry, if a Cuban has no doctor, if a Cuban child suffers or is uneducated, or if a family has no housing. It hurts us even though it’s not our brother, our son, or our father. Why shouldn’t we feel hurt if we see an Angolan child ...

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Lost Sovereignty; a disgraced judge and a kidnapped Attorney-General

Lost Sovereignty; a disgraced judge and a kidnapped Attorney-General

Carl Schmitt’s Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty is both famous and obscure. A twentieth-century political theory, containing two canonical sentences: “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception” and “All significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts.” These statements are regurgitated by contemporary political and legal theorists time and again. Standing alone, Schmitt’s statements are both puzzling and shocking. Schmitt’s ...

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The symbol of belonging

The symbol of belonging

On the request of a friend, this post offers some insights as to why someone would wish to burn the Australian flag as an act of protest. The events in Canberra on the day commemorating the arrival of the first European settlers in Australia widely known as Australia Day have provided the media with no end of racial and political fodder. I spent some time reading comments on Yahoo!7, including: ...

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Ernst & Young and the Diversity Council of Australia

Ernst & Young and the Diversity Council of Australia

Employers have a legal responsibility to take ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent harassment and discrimination occurring in the workplace. Employers may also be held ‘vicariously liable’ for the actions of their partners, colleagues, employees, agents or contract workers. Employers must also ensure that people who make a complaint, or are involved in a complaint in any way, are not victimised or treated less favourably as a result. For an employer to ...

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Sticks and stones

Sticks and stones

Today’s news article that Dr. Charlie Teo addressed racism as part of his speech  to the Australia Day Council has raised hackles within the local community. Andrew Bolt and Steve Price, having interviewed the good doctor on radio and subsequently discussed the issue with callers, focused on language with no mention of the more brutal and marginalizing aspects of racist behaviour. We all see the world through the social and ...

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"The devil can cite scripture for his purpose"

“The devil can cite scripture for his purpose”

A fire that devours fire; a fire that burns in things dry and moist; a fire that glows amid snow and ice; a fire that is like a crouching lion; a fire that reveals itself in many forms; a fire that is; and never expires; a fire that shines and roars; a fire that blazes and sparkles; a fire that flies in a storm wind; a fire that burns without ...

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What is actually the root of the problem in Papua?

What is actually the root of the problem in Papua?

The following is an extract of an interview between Bambang Dharmono, former Aceh military commander and negotiator representing Indonesia for the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM), to lead the Presidential Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B) and journalist Nani Afrida which appeared in The Jakarta Post on 16 December, 2011. The question posed by Nani to Bambang was “What is actually the root of the ...

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Ernst & Young, the silence is deafening!

Ernst & Young, the silence is deafening!

Following is a response to the statement published by Ernst & Young. People with things to hide generally sneak around, aiming to placate those who can advance their situation. They avoid speaking to the victim of their wrong doings, unless it is to inflict further hurt and they certainly never admit to having been wrong in the first place. These are the hallmarks of a narcissist. They are also the ...

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