Does privacy extend to political party campaign databases? Bradley Manning – wikileaker: hero or thoughtless desperado, and is the sacrament a law unto itself?
Two weeks ago Radio Atticus reported on the growing push for a tort of privacy in Australia. That push had come off the back of the News of the World phone hacking scandal. The Prime Minister saw an opportunity to both dust off the Australian Law Reform Commission 2008 Privacy report, calling for a legislative protection of individuals’ privacy, and to also put the boot in to the media, especially News Ltd.
But in an ironic twist, it seems that Australia’s major political parties themselves are breaching important parts of the privacy act – that is however, if it applied to them. The major political parties back in 2000 passed the Private Sector Amendment Bill, which exempted them from this country’s privacy legislation.
Those privacy exemption laws were scrutinized by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2008, who recommended they be removed, and both the current and former Federal Privacy Commissioners have also called for their review.
Former South Australian Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja (des-poy-ya) also spent much of her political career campaigning against the loop-holes, calling them “undemocratic, invasive and hypocritical”.
Reporter Patrick Wright
Peter Onselen, Contributing Editor at the Australian Newspaper.
Bradley Manning isn’t known for his caution. Labelled King of the Wikileakers, he’s responsible for the biggest leak of classified information in US history. 250,000 diplomatic cables, and video including the piece titled ‘collateral damage’, which showed two Reuters journalists being fired on by US forces.
Manning was arrested in May 2010. He’s been charged with violations of breaching the uniform code of military justice – the law applicable to US forces abroad in conflict zones. In March this year, 22 further charges were laid – the most serious of them being aiding the enemy in the course of an armed conflict, which can carry the death penalty
Serious stuff. But is Bradley Manning a hero, or a thoughtless desperado? That was the topic up for debate at a forum in Sydney recently about Manning’s case.
Reporter Alexandra Vaughan
Ben Saul, Director of the Sydney Centre for International Law at Sydney Law School
Wendy Bacon, Professor of Journalism at the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism.
Ireland has announced it will change the law so that Catholic clerics will be prosecuted if they don’t report crimes disclosed during confession. It follows outrage there over the long-running cover-up of child sex abuse cases within the Church.
Independent senator Nick Xenophon has said Australia should legislate accordingly, and argued it was unacceptable for priests to hide behind religious practice. Senator Xenophon introduced a private bill on the same matter when he was a member of the South Australian parliament in 2003, but it wasn’t backed by the big parties.
Catholic groups have come out against the Senator’s calls, arguing that if crimes disclosed during confession did have to be reported, congregants would have no channel through which to express remorse and make the first steps on the road to redemption.
Reporter Justin Ellis
Brian Lucas, General Secretary of Catholic Bishops Australia.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download