One doesn't need to agree with the persons cause to recognize this is another extreme overstepping of authority on the part of that government to mandate that the people who communicate with the person subject to this order may also not protect their own commuications from interception, and that the person subject to the order must somehow produce a key for whatever data gets sent to him.
Given the cynical application of laws and their moderating charter exceptions in places like Australia and Canada over the last few years, I could forsee a new republican movement emerging in commonwealth countries, as it's pretty clear CAN/AUS/NZ have dispensed with notions of fundamental justice, and have a "so sue me," approach to legislation and governance, as this stuff is just too stupid to be reasoned with. The language means nothing, the principles mean nothing. It's no longer about tech, it's about what our options are when the state has demonstrated official contempt for the people it ostensibly serves.
Commonwealth nations have largely devolved into illiberal elective autocracies with immense power concentrated in the PM's offices, minimal parliamentary autonomy (i.e. everyone votes on the party line), and no ideological constraints on how state power is used or abused.
Eg games work based on a whitelist. You need to get the government's permission to be able to publish your game in Australia.
Australians accept this. It's no wonder to me that they will accept even further concessions on their freedoms.
That sounds weird. I'm Australian and I've never heard of that. Can you share some links so I can learn more about that?
>Every film and computer game has to be classified before it can be legally made available to the Australian public, unless it is exempt or is being shown at a registered event.
If they refuse classification then it is banned.
As of 27th July 2012  UK enacted a Statutory Instrument "The Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations 2012"  ...
> From today, it is a criminal offence to sell video games with a “12” rating to those younger than that age.
... manadated VSC as the sole organisation...
> The new law ends the dual system, gives legal backing to PEGI 12, 16 and 18 ratings and will result in clearer, unambiguous guidance about the suitability of games content for specific age groups.
... with responsibility for PEGI (Pan European Games Information) ratings.
> PEGI provides age classifications for video games in 38 European countries. The age rating confirms that the game is appropriate for players of certain age. PEGI considers the age suitability of a game, not the level of difficulty.
I think even when some films (e.g. Clockwork Orange at first I believe?) were banned they were still rated by the BBFC, it was councils that banned cinemas from showing them locally?
As an example, Life of Brian (1979) was only an “AA” (14 years+) but a moral panic made 28 councils raise to an “X” (18+) and 11 actually banned it completely.
(For clarity, a film is de facto banned when either the BBFC or a local council refuses to rate it. It can still be shown privately (eg at a film society) provided it doesn’t contain illegal material (ie it’s not obscene))
Life of Brian was another example I was thinking of, and as you say, same as I described there - rated, then banned.
I’m surprised by how long the list is; I thought it was much rarer and more exceptional. The only time I’d heard of them rejecting a film was when it showed unsimulated animal cruelty, but I guess there must be other reasons.
I wonder if the ones never released are just because they didn't want to cut enough, preferring to abandon the project though.
> The only time I’d heard of them rejecting a film was when it showed unsimulated animal cruelty, but I guess there must be other reasons.
Porn, or rather it somehow going too far, seems to be a big one based on a lot of the titles there.
But I don't think that's a thing anymore because there outdated policys have changed. Video games aren't "new" anymore for a long time.
This has worked so far because we don’t have extremist police who apply the law to the letter- they themselves see laws as mostly suggestions
Something most people don't understand is that Australias' sovereign, the Queen, is used to keep embarassing state secrets well and truly out of the public eye. This is an intolerable state of affairs that will hopefully get addressed when she dies, and the Australian Republic movement gets fresh air under its wings ..
Australia has secret prisons, and a star court for the things it doesn't want the world to know. Witness J, K, L, M, &etc.
So does america. I'm not sure how a republic movement could save australia from having these things when one of the largest republics in the world also has, e.g. hundreds of thousands of censored warcrimes on wikileaks and guantanamo bay
The proof is in the pudding: Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia, Ukraine, etc.
The USA has exactly this, in the form of the revolving door that connects the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the CFR.
See also: https://s3.amazonaws.com/docs.pogo.org/report/2018/POGO_Bras...
Its figureheads give the impression of democracy, but nobody voted to murder 5% of Iraqs population - the generals went ahead and did it anyway.
> ESRB employee: "What about games with infinite replayability, or ones that include procedurally generated content?"
> Bureaucrat: "I don't understand anything you just said."
An elected president who is head of the executive and armed forces which include these intelligence agencies, would be foolish to "take them on", because they would "get back at him". The people no longer have the power to determine the way in which they are governed by democratic means (maybe they never did, but I'm lead to believe that elected politicians used to hold a bit more power a century or two ago). I expect it is a similar situation in Australia, it's not really the PM's office the holds the real power.
The problem is that natural law needs some source, this source has to come from somewhere and majority has to agree that they like the source.
For ages the source was obvious in "the West" - it was God all mighty armed with the Bible. Now God is gone, replaced with the believe that rational people will do much better job than some possibly made up person living in the clouds.
And it turned out that the source of the natural law is the government. In theory government is democratically elected, unfortunately democratic process degraded because of the modern manipulation techniques, social media that caused even further move from making election choices by using reasoning to emotions. Those who has money, they win, as all that political marketing costs a lot.
We live in the times of emodecmocracy, who can stir the emotions, attract in this way people wins, even if underneath they have ideas like censorship - obviously with the noble cause, to remove from discussion bad people, ale those anti-vax, anti-gay, anti-renewables, anti-reduce-meet-consumption, etc. people. Bad, bad people, but the law is the same for everyone and good people can suddenly become bad people if this suits someone's interest.
Now people are waking up since they have to give away the content of their mailbox on request of some corporations who happens to own a few MPs, judges and prosecutors.
Even if the fall of religion was inevitable in the West, a source of objective values distinct from the state hasn't really emerged. "Human rights" conflict with each other, are subjective and overridden by the government at will.
It may be possible but philosophy needs to get its game on.
> For ages the source was obvious in "the West" - it was God all mighty armed with the Bible.
The roots of (real) liberalism are all there in these largely theological treatises including the inalienable right of the people to revolt against the state when it becomes tyrannical (see Juan de Mariana).
but as someone who has only passing familiarity with those, is it possible to provide a list (for example) without having to read all those first?
But what I recall was the general idea that God alone was perfect, man is sinful and corrupt, therefore we should limit the power of the state as much as we can because of the extra powers it has over everyone else. The divine law being above worldly law, so even rulers have a ruler, and shouldn't become tyrants over their people. Those ideas, while not applied perfectly, must've had some influence.
1. Transcendent morality. If morality is to be resilient, it must transcend culture, preference, etc., otherwise it can be changed or over-turned as convenient.
If morality is purely relative, a matter of agreement, then the concept of an inalienable right is not meaningful.
Philosophy has tried to find a different ground for morality, as the parents mentioned -- but that has not been successful, and I don't think that it can be.
The judeo-christian perspective here is of course that moral standards come from God, thus they are absolute and transcend our opinions. More specifically, they are not "law" per se, but something deeper: They reflect God's character, which _defines_ morality. I.e., God _is_ morality.
For instance, Love and Justice are core moral standards because God is Loving and Just, or more precisely, we learn what Love and Justice are by looking at God.
2. The _Imago Dei_. This is the idea that makes transcendent morality applicable to humans. Morality needs to be universally applicable in order to be sustainable, otherwise it's trivial to enact restrictions -- e.g., that it need not apply to the rulers, to Jews, to Republicans or Democrats, to Muslim minorities in China...
The Imago Dei is the notion that humans are created in God's image, and therefore have inalienable dignity _deriving from his_.
This notion is different from more utilitarian ideas that we have worth and dignity based on e.g. our intelligence, ability or so on, and is a prime defense against all kinds of "lebensunwertes Leben" (being the nazi phrase) ideas.
Incidentally, this is also why Christians are so opposed to abortion and have been since forever (roman times and even Old Testament times): The idea that the worth of the baby is not dependent on their awareness, ability or whatever (which many disabled or ill people also do not have), but on on their humanity as such.
Historically, anything from due process to property rights has been argued from this: Much of it in Old Testament times, e.g. but by far not limited to the well-known 10 commandments, then much more in New Testament times, which was then expanded upon by the early church fathers and christian-influenced philosophy. The abolition of slavery and much enlightening thinking might well not have emerged in a different context.
3. Universal Sin. The concept that all human beings are fallen and in need of redemption is what makes morality and safeguards necessary in practice. This is the knowledge that there is no _inherent_ difference between e.g. nazis and me -- I am equally capable of such atrocities if left to myself. Therefore, ordered liberty is required - government, law, and institutions to guide and restrain us.
The acknowledgment of Universal Sin promotes compassion, because no-one is intrinsically worse than me: This strengthens the practical value of the Imago Dei and weakens us-versus-them ideologies like nazism or intersectionality.
It also both requires and limits government, since an effective form of government needs to take the sin of the government into account as well as that of the population.
This is where separate branches of government, checks and balances, (mostly electoral) accountability and related ideas were derived from.
4. _Subsidiarity_. This is the concept that the smaller and closer the unit or relationship is, the more crucial and stable it is. This ties in to 3., because the effects of sin compound with larger and more abstract units. Sin also has much more pull if given more room - see Lord Acton's famous quote about power and corruption :)
I.e., it's much easier to be compassionate and efficient towards a wife or neighbor than towards "Comrade nr 25556 of the district of Eurasia".
This idea has led to a strong emphasis on the family, neighborhood and local church as core institutions where the primary "government" is better placed, as opposed to a large and anonymous bureaucracy.
This is were representation, federalism, small government and related ideas come from, and incidentally, why I find the US Constitution as intended far superior than the direction American politics has taken in the last 100 years (big government, bureaucracy, centralization, homogenization).
I hope this helps you understand me a bit, I'm looking forward to continue this conversation! :)
one thing i guess is that a lot of this comes from many thinkers and philosophers over the years, but what i guess i was more interested in was direct connections for example, "the idea of universal suffrage can be traced to book xx verse yy in the bible" or "gay rights can find support in the talmud xyz" etc... that kind of thing...
i guess its not so clear-cut maybe?
There is of course much morality that one can give chapter and verse for. This includes "big" things like murder and theft, and more subtle things like fair wages, due process and government for the people.
Not especially applicable to border lockdowns within Australia.
The biggest case that hit the Federal Court was the border closure by the State of Western Australia (population ~ 2 million, land area 3x Texas) which was in effect the local citizens of W.Australia being damn near 100% in lockstep with their elected local representatives in saying we have no desire to see free movement of people across our State border during the time of the pandemic.
They were in opposition to the Federal Government and the PM's office and held their ground ..
.. despite the alleged "immense power concentrated in the PM's offices".
Free trade of goods continued via rail, road, and shipping so their was no issue with that part of the Consttitution, and the lockdown was in keeping with earlier (2005 etc) biosecurity ammendments in both State and Federal law.
Obviously the judiciary is much less powerful here than the US, but my point was how power has been stripped away from party members, legislatures, the civil service, and most of the political executive. Even senior ministers have effectively no political power whatsoever, they're just sent out with their lines to read. All the power is concentrated within the PMO (or Number 10 in UK parlance), which nowadays solely dictates party strategy and policy.
As for the WA border closure, if you read the judgement it did not say that the constitution only applies to the trade of goods. In Australia constitutional rights can simply be overridden by necessity. You saw the same with the implied right to political communication which has been routinely ignored, as in the Bolt case. If you want to read up on this, look up the doctrine of structured proportionality especially as it's been applied since McCloy. Basically governments can flagrantly breach the constitution and then it's up to the courts to decide whether the transgression was justified based off their own value-judgements. The court was satisfied there was a public health justification for the closure, so s92 goes into the bin.
Realistically until Kiefel and Keane retire, Australians don't have any genuine constitutional rights because they'll just extend the doctrine of structured proportionality to whatever constitutional right is in question. "Non-absolute" rights are simply not rights in any sense of the word.
How do you define "power" exactly? Like the Supreme Court just flipping constitutional law precedent? Or that the government isn't being held to account in front of an independent judiciary?
Because we see that reasonably often in NZ, government gets taken to the High Court, loses, formally apologises, tries to get it right. If that's missing in Australia, that really explains a lot of us on the other side of the ditch have seen the federal government getting up to.
Of course we don't have any federal bill of rights in Australia, and the implied rights in the constitution to thing like political speech can be violated so long as the court thinks the government had a legitimate reason for doing so.
You can complain about parliamentary sovereignty all you like (for us it’s only the states that have plenary legislative power though!) but damn, at least the people deciding about abortion rights etc on our behalf aren’t life appointments set to last 30+ years. If we don’t like what’s happening, we can change the government in 6 weeks start to finish.
In order for American constitutional law to make sense again, they should either strip the entire bill of rights from the constitution (slowly!) or once again do a huge U-turn on Dobbs (and the cases yet to be handed down in which the conservative majority will use the same ridiculous legal test that is even less rooted in the text of the constitution than the rights they're analysing to justify knocking down the right to gay marriage etc) and acknowledge it was bullshit. My thought at the moment is that doing it Australian-style is better in the long run. You get slower progress, for example we had discriminatory laws against sodomy in Queensland until 2016 (!), whereas the US has benefited economically and socially from the extremely sound policy of abortion access (cutting off a poverty/crime pipeline) for 50 years. But you don't get the instability that results from populist movements cottoning on that an independent judiciary sits in their way. As it stands the US is there. It's a very dark spot.
I have read both the judgement re: WA which upheld the State's Right to enact quarantine during a biosecurity emergancy "while that situation lasted" and I've read the Australian Constitution, in particular the passage that supposedly allows free unencumbered travel between States even during a pandemic (which, I'm afraid, it doesn't).
These specifics aside, I agree that various Federal Governments have pushed past the bounds of what most citizens find acceptable and it's right and correct that they push back and mount challenges.
In the specific case of these environmental protestors I feel the former Government did go to excess in surveillance and stalking them in a manner befitting terrorists plotting malfeasance. No soup for them.
In the same manner of fair view to both sides, this particular protest group had in the past and did intend in the future to go beyond public and visible protest and fully into the realm of trespass and disruption of ongoing business activity.
Personally I applaud the ascent and hanging from a coal port stack loader - it was a ballsy move and good publicity and reminds me of things I did on several occassions in my 20s - but it was also trespass and beyond mere protest.
None of which justifies the excess bail conditions outlined in the OP article.
Natural rights and an absolute sovereign aren't contradictory in the Anglo school of thought, see one of its most famous representatives, Thomas Hobbes. (There's no such thing as natural law, which is always a contractual human affair between the governor and the governed).
The particular American, Lockean version of liberalism you're talking about never had much sway in the Commonwealth, and Australia derives its traditions if anything from Britain, not the US.
Not all commonwealth nations. Some have devolved into banana republic failed state kleptocracies. Spend a day reading up on what's happening in South Africa's politics and see for yourself.
We are either so ahead of the times that SA is a model for what's coming for countries like CAD/AUS/NZ, or we skipped the functional-but-overstepping government phase completely and just went straight to the gutter.
South Africa is less analogous to an internal devolution and more analogous to one country being conquered by another country.
The only way such a government could come to power and remain in power anywhere else in the world would be in a conquered state. I can see the parallels that the GP has drawn by calling SA such.
Counterpoint: this is usually code for "the government did something I didn't like".
I don't know where you're from but this reads like a very American slippery slope fallacy type way of thinking. You may not be Americans but this line of thinking is popular among Americans. Canada maybe (ie America's hat)?
There's a lot you can criticize the Australian government for. Top of mind for me would be the treatment of boat people. The anti-eryption stuff is really just laughable because it's performative with very little actual impact. It's old people who don't understand technology trying to regulate technology in the most ignorant way possible. Ties to the two old media empires of Murdoch and Packer are more problematic.
But the Australian government still has done a lot of good things (eg the assault weapons ban following the Port Arthur massacre).
> ... immense power concentrated in the PM's offices
This... shows a lot of ignorance about how the government works, at least in Australia's case. First, PM isn't actually a constitutional position with any explicit authority in Australia. The government has been dissolved by the Governor-General (ie Gough Whitlam). PMs have been frequently ousted by their party (eg Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott). There was a period where in 10 years not a single PM had survived their entire 3 year term.
As a counterexample to the "autocracy", Tony Abbott as PM was largely undone by giving an Australian knighthood to Prince Philip. This was deeply unpopular and at the same time completely irrelevant.
Calling this level of accountability to the voters (even though the party-room coup against Abbott had nothing directly to do with voters) an "autocracy" betrays a gross ignorance of how the Australian government works.
How exactly would that lead to increased republican sentiments? It is not as if the queen is making these elected governments act in this way.
Not to mention the same class making these gross oversteps of government authority would be the ones to write any republican constitution.
Hence it seems predictable that a popular movement toward new constitutional republics could rise. Without a means to defend your basic freedoms from the people who eventually rise to make up a government, a constitution and a charter of rights are just conventions. These parliamentary democracies are in a co-ordinated transition to something else.
As it is I think Australians generally see the Queen (and Governor General to a lesser extent) as being outside politics. There is a deep cynicism in the electorate that it will be possible to select a head of state in a manner that will not be politicised, leading to a loss of independence of the head of state.
The US has the highly undesirable situation of (1) the possibility of a deadlocked President (because Congress does not support them) (2) the possibility of a deadlocked legislature (because SCOTUS doesn't support them).
The Australian Constitution completely sidesteps these conundrums. A bad PM can be ousted in a day. The High Court avoids getting into Constitutional rights disputes except in limited circumstances, such as undue burdens upon the implied freedom of political communication. I consider this significantly more desirable and the US offers nothing to be jealous of.
By whom? The parliament that confirmed him as PM? The parliament where the PM's party almost always holds the most seats?
A parliamentary system essentially combines the executive and legislative powers to one party.
1 person, appointed by the Queen. In this case it isnt a "slippery slope" where technically it could happen etc it happened.
"The 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, also known simply as the Dismissal, culminated on 11 November 1975 with the dismissal from office of the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), by Governor-General Sir John Kerr."
Later it was alleged that Kerr had acted for the United States government in dismissing Whitlam.
There is actually a lot to one day come out about that interesting period of time.
This was when Australians lost their sovereignty and became a puppet state of US corporations and intelligence agencies.
Just like Germany.
I believe by convention the deputy PM in Australia is necessarily a member of this group (also called the Lower House), though our PM could in theory be a member of the upper house (aka the Senate). I don't believe that's ever been the case, though.
Fascinatingly our constitution mentions the role of Prime Minister precisely zero times -- it was assumed to be understood.
However, as with everything in the Westminster system, the written law is only part of the picture, and by convention, we have one Minister to rule them all, and he/she exercises actual Executive power.
Haha. You could ask:
I don’t know how long such arrangements can persevere, but it’d be delightful if they didn’t survive past Lizzie and Charlie.
I mean, it’s the 21st century. If we have no gods, then why do we still have masters?
Ontologically speaking, sovereignty in a secular nation can have no metaphysical assertions (“divine right to rule”), so there can be no legitimate claims of primacy over other humans.
But this is well known. Perhaps it’s the invisible and inactive nature of British monarchy that permits it to survive: they do next no nothing publicly, so they don’t step on toes.
Which means that these people are actually indirectly selected by voters, but are changed in a much slower way and will not be a series of populists who rewrite everything every time a political climate changes a bit.
This sounds like a very good thing.
Then voters are reminded of how little their votes actually matter, directly or indirectly.
Australia and Canada both have constitutions (I don't know about the Canadian one, but the Australian one was definitely written by Australians), and while NZ doesn't have a codified constitution it does have several treaties and laws which effectively form a constitution in all but name (in particular they have the concept of entrenched laws which require more than a simple majority in parliament to amend -- though as far as I can tell, not all laws considered part of the New Zealand Constitution are entrenched). I don't know what gave you the impression we don't have a constitution.
> No matter which crazies are elected, they face an extreme uphill battle to remove basic rights.
In Australia it's even harder to change the constitution, so if that's something you like then you should love the Australian Constitution even more! You need a double majority of the public to vote in favour of the change in a nationwide referendum. In the US, the constitution can be changed without any public votes or input at all (since it only requires state legislatures to ratify the amendment).
While this is technically true, it does not appear that either guarantee the rights of citizens to speak freely, especially when the speech is objectionable. When I lament the lack of a Constitution, I lament a Constitution which permits us the same inalienable rights. Both Australia and Canada place harsh restrictions on speech.
As for enshrining rights, Canada has the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which is a constitutional document that includes the freedom of expression. New Zealand has the Bill of Rights Act which includes freedom of expression. As mentioned before, it's not entrenched law (though it was originally intended to be) but since most countries don't have constitutional bills of rights, this is hardly unusual.
As for Australia, I personally do think we should have a bill of rights of some kind (currently the basis of freedom of political speech is based on a High Court ruling about the Constitution's preamble which is in my view incredibly flimsy). I personally wouldn't model it on the US Constitution -- I would base it on the NZ Bill of Rights, but that's a minor detail.
However, it's simply not true to say that those countries don't have constitutions when you actually want to say that they don't have constitutional protections of certain rights (and in the case of Canada, they actually do!)
Me too. In my country we've got politicians proposing amendments to the constitution every other day like it was nothing, it happens frequently enough for there to be jargon and acronyms for it: Constitutional Amendment Proposals. USA at least has a solid ideological foundation to stand on, even though its government violates the rights of americans on a daily basis.
The way the system is intended to work is that such things should be enacted through the legislature or a Constitutional convention. If it is universally desired to elevate something above reproach (and shoddy prevention that is given the treatment of the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 10th Amendments in general), it'd make it into the Federal Constitution to clarify it. Interestingly however, the 10th Amendment explicitly makes implicit that any freedom not explicitly carved out in either a State or Federal Constitution is granted to the People. So somewhere along the way we've seriously lost sight of how things were intended to work.
The American Constitution was intended to primarily enumerate limits on Government, not on those of the People. Therefore, positive assertions or explicit "People have X right" is actually in a sense a form of regression from what the document was intended to embody. Which again, is primarily "no government, no matter how much easier it'd make your existence, thou shalt not go there", and "no States, we all talked about this, you shan't go there either".
Oh we have that here as well, though I'm not sure about "conservative". Where I live, the supreme federal court is the legislative power. People vote representatives to propose laws but the judges of the supreme court are the ones who ultimately define what the law means in practice it and they use that power to legislate in what has been termed "judicial activism".
I've seen cases where the judges openly acknowledged in writing that according to the law the defendant was innocent, then proceeded to condemn them anyway because what they did offended their personal morals and therefore "deserved repression".
The most controversial thing about Canada's Charter isn't the language of the rights itself, it's that to get the support of the provinces it included what's known as the "notwithstanding clause", whereby a province can choose to expressly ignore parts of the charter in laws it enacts.
It isn't perfect at all and maybe fallen out of time a bit, but it is better than that of any other country I know (I am not for the US).
But even today you have idiots trying to undermine it (for example in regards to the right to bear arms). I can live without arms and think it has many advantages, but the sleazy lawyer militia arguments brought forward are signs of mental inhibition. With such people a constitution like that would never have been possible.
That's a very surprising take to me.
Some more obvious problems with the US constitution are highly ambiguous clauses (right to bear arms vs militias), unclear powers assigned to parts of the government (could Pence have legally decided on the electors to make Trump win? what's the exact succession of powers?), an election system causing imbalanced voting power (how many senators per state vs population, first-past-the-post vote), important rights left undefined (right to privacy vs the abortion issue), and many many more issues. These really are just the recent things that come to mind. These problems also don't seem scholarly, they appear to have substantial impact on political reality.
The US constitution was certainly a huge achievement for the 18th century. There's - unsurprisingly - been a lot of progress in constitutional theory in the 235 years after though, and it seems like it is a massive liability for the US by now.
As I said, I don't believe it to be perfect, but I have severe doubts current powers could come up with something better.
The question of the number of representatives by state is a political one. Look at the EU. Pretty much the same. Otherwise a union would not be possible. This is a form of minority protection. There is valid criticism for that but said criticism should first understand why it is the way it is. There is also valid criticism of "the winner takes it all" approaches of course. These issues aren't even disconnected here.
Still, the US constitution is pretty great. I don't know of one that is better. I don't believe the current political climate could improve it significantly and I cannot blame it for not having a direct answer to any legal question. A constitution that might have that would be extremely long and probably extremely bad.
Do you have specific reasons why you think that's the case? I did give concrete examples, some of which are indeed recent events, but all of these seem to hold in general outside the context of recent events.
> Still, the US constitution is pretty great. I don't know of one that is better.
What countries do you compare to here? And what would be the dimensions you're comparing them on?
> I don't believe the current political climate could improve it significantly.
I think that's true, but that might speak more to the political climate in the US than the inherent quality of the constitution.
For what would the US constitution be a liability for? It was designed to limit power. That some people might perceive that as limiting is probably for the better. It was imperative for the idea of checks and balances which today seem much more lacking in the US. And the nouveau critics of the constitution seem completely lost on that point.
As I said, it isn't perfect. I don't know the constitution of every country and there might be one that is indeed better. Do you have an example?
Constitutions do not just limit power. They prescribe how a society organizes itself, including how to exert power (not just how to limit it). A major goal for democratic constitutions is enabling a society to make collective decisions.
E.g. the US congress is famously struggling to make decisions. An interesting question then is how the US constitution prescribes decisions must be made, and whether that framework of decision making is successful along certain criteria (e.g. representing voter will, protecting fundamental rights).
If you're interested in comparing to other constitutions, a good way might be researching countries that "score well", e.g. that have stable governments, non-violent transitions of power, successful decision making, score well on the human development index, etc. - or countries where things are going particularly poor. I find that the positive example is often more interesting, because the poor outcomes often have major negative factors that might not apply in other countries and might not relate to their respective constitution.
Countries that come to mind would be the likes of Sweden, Japan, Botswana, New Zealand, but your mileage may vary depending on what you consider to be positive outcomes for a society.
But I still do think the US constitution does indeed hold up rather nicely, especially in their current political climate where people might tend to disagree with each other. It provides the most essential legal guarantees. In this case a constitution has the important role to define what people actually agree on.
I think what you say about the irrelevance of the constitution in poor outcomes is also true for the success case. Switzerland or Norway score very high on metrics measuring democracy and social services. But their overall strategic position is probably a major factor.
It is difficult to quantify success in governance and this might highly depend on perspective. Japan or South Africa have solid constitutions too, but you have to read it very differently than that of the US. You have to mind the age difference.
And yet, Roe was overturned. Gay rights are next.
E.g. in Australia we recently reached the situation that both abortion and euthanasia are permitted by all states. I never considered it something the courts should weigh in on - progressive governments allowed members bills and conscience votes.
It’s possible there are US states where the ruling politicians don’t get rotated (voted) out like they are guaranteed to here (eventually) and the legislature is always conservative, but there’s always the possibility of federal laws.
The federal legislature, on the other hand has it a bit trickier, because despite the much grown influence of federal government using the commerce clause, it does technically seem that this kind of policy is something that according to USA constitutional principles gets to be decided on a state level.
As an American of a certain age, I'd say that it's because culture changes slowly.
While it was obvious to me decades ago that sentient beings should have bodily autonomy and that it was cruel to deny those same beings the right to love who and how they need to do so, that wasn't the case across most of the US.
In fact, the opposition to stuff like bodily autonomy, basic marriage rights, and a raft of other issues weren't (as it is now) concentrated in a single political party as it is today.
And that's why Roe v. Wade was never codified by statute, at least not at the Federal level (note that each state has its own laws regarding bodily autonomy).
Which is a huge mistake IMHO. Bodily autonomy isn't something that should be legislated by any government. Full stop.
Before the age of the 24/7 news cycle (amped up by orders of magnitude with the advent of "social" media), political discourse was generally more local and more amenable to compromise at the national level.
There are numerous reasons for the political and geographical "sorting" that's gone on for the last 40 years or so, but the upshot has been that folks have become more reactionary, more intolerant and more likely to demonize those with whom they disagree.
In fact, in many cases political operatives in the US don't even pretend to address issues. Rather they just demonize the political "other," refuse to cooperate to create positive change and leave it at that.
And the bodily autonomy issue is part and parcel of that trend. There have always been busybodies who want to control what others do, say or think. And a small group of religious extremists hijacked one of the major parties (because that party had continued to lose power and influence because of their anti-liberty, anti-working class stances) that recently culminated in the recent SCOTUS decision.
It's really sad. Not because things were so much better 40 years ago. In fact, in many respects, things are better for minority and under-represented groups.
Back in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the death of a black man at the hands of police (or a civilian for that matter) was almost always just shrugged off.
Today, folks go to jail for that sort of thing.
Is the US the inclusive, free society that we claim to be? No. Are we better than we used to be? Yes.
Does more need to be done? Definitely.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. - Ninth Amendment
And note - gay marriage and abortion have majority support among the American populace, and in many states where they have currently been outlawed.
Calling for a Constitutional Amendment for this is a red herring, as rights do not have to be enumerated in the Constitution to exist. The Constitution doesn't even support the Supreme Court's right of judicial review.
And guess what -- in states like Alabama, the people of that state have elected politicians that choose to regulate things like abortion in a manner different than what would be the case in a state like California. On the flip side, you have states/municipalities that regulate the second amendment -- something DEFINITELY in the constitution, and not in a "squint really hard and it sorta makes sense" way like abortion -- much more stringently than other states. The system is working as intended.
The issue is that you're expecting every state to have the exact same cultural attitudes towards things like abortion. They don't. The majority of people in certain states are against it, and they have voted accordingly.
You are right that all rights are retained by the people, but what has people mad / worried is the states legislating against the will of the majority (specifically because there is nothing stopping them from doing so at a federal or constitutional level).
Stop acting like there's some mainstream Republican movement to ban gay and interracial marriage, it's obviously not true when you have to sensationalize the titles of your own linked articles.
And it's not even "they" want it to be left to the states. It's a single individual who even mentioned anything about it, and even they "backpeddled" (i.e clarified what they said after the media twisted their words for sensationalism).
> they want it to be left to the states
and republicans are already changing their platforms to include even stronger anti-gay platforms  as has been historically (ill just link to their platform directly) 
Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values. We condemn the Supreme Court's ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court's lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was a "judicial Putsch" — full of "silly extravagances" — that reduced "the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Storey to the mystical aphorisms of a fortune cookie." In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The real problem here is that the Supreme Court is a lifetime political appointment and, as long as their decisions have support in Congress, they're unimpeachable.
NEw Zealander here: I honestly don’t understand what you are talking about. The culture of “sue”ing doesn’t really exist here. I wouldn’t guess there was a lot in common between NZ and Ozzie: we laugh or cry about what happens over in Oz. No idea about Canada.
All kinds of other tort suits exist, it's just that people without any money don't know it, they have no lawyer and nothing to sue or be sued for. So we go around saying "we don't have a culture of suing, that's so American".
In actual fact, wealthy people here are just as litigious as anywhere else... as you are when you have something to gain or to lose.
I don't know of any country that has a social safety net that 100% reimburses you for a life-altering injury where you can no longer work. Sure you'll get a disability pension, public healthcare and maybe a bit more, but it's usually "barely enough to live on" support.
If you're a doctor making $200,000 per year and you can't work again, suing is usually the only way to recoup things like lost-wages.
In NZ people can still sue over business contracts and participate in legal cases against the government culminating in legislation being ruled unconstitutional, like other Anglo, common-law countries.
It is rather bug difference.
Also, insurance companies when they settle claims, they force you to formally sue the other person or they sue each other. Most of these are routine formalities. Again, system setup in a way to generate suits.
"I really don't care if you are offended or put off by what I said or did. The hyperbolic threat is meant to undermine how much importance another person is or may be giving something one did or said." https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/So%2c+sue+me!
It’s not to be taken literally, although in this context it’s a bit confusing.
If you can refine that a bit we might get an interesting discussion.
How does NZ solve civil matters?
The government can do whatever it wants to you because it's the government. This is true even in the USA. They can spy on you, lie to you, set you up to take the fall for a crime you didn't commit. Obviously these are bad things, but my point is the government has near-infinite resources and ultimate authority among the people; appeals to limit government power through constitutionalism and republicanism obviously aren't going to work very well, even in the most constitutional-republic-ass country on the planet, the USA. So the only question is, how do we ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that government's absolute, sovereign power is applied to the greater good?
The wisdom of the american system was either you remove its absolute sovereignty and actively maintain the separation and manage it as the bounded dynamic of a growth engine, or it ossifies and becomes corrupt. The american experiement is yielding pretty much what the framers of its constitution predicted, and its enemies have had an instruction manual on how to do it from the beginning.
The contempt I read that some people have for freedom is like listening to the inmates of a prison competing over who can be more compliant with the guards, and who reserve their rage for those who inadvertently humiliate them by comparison just by demonstrating some basic human dignity. Someone who sincerely uses epithets like "muh freedoms," by definition is not a peer or equal, and their upside is to become just somebody's liability or pet. It's an entirely relative ontology, and from the perspective of a mob. Corrupt the people, and their government becomes an afterthought.
Re: how do we ensure that the government's Executive power is used for good? We can't ensure it. But not voting for an utter imbecile like Trump sure as hell is a good way to make it more likely!
Well articulated. Exhibit A: Successive Australian governments allowing Assange's imprisonment. Exhibit B: Australia not allowing its own citizens to leave the country during COVID without first requesting permission. Exhibit C: Steadily increasing internet and mobile surveillance and censorship.
We have a rather dim outlook of Australian federal/state government overreach too, and some of their populist policies that discriminate against us, often with racist origins.
And we've often enjoyed a TV drama or three recounting horrendous corruption in various Australian police forces. (I highly recommend the Underbelly series')
> The law applies to both foreign visitors and returning New Zealand citizens:
And it's not just about bad practices- one of the things that happens in such a royal commission /bloodbath, is that police have to get off their high horse and get treated like everyone else. You know, being "joe public", humble.
Police will say - after such a public flogging "the public stopped fearing us, we had to ask people to do things instead of telling them" .. to which my quiet internal response was- of course you fool, you are a public servant, not an overlord..
once every 25 years, minimum, with some sort of independent body in-between - as what to do in those colonies that threw out the whole system and don't know what a royal commission is? (such as the USA)- I have no idea, good luck.
The latest democratic crisis involved handing over effective control of water assets to unelected "regional representative groups" based on race. (https://www.democracyaction.org.nz/planned_three_waters_enti...)
2) Refusing a reasonable request from an employer is grounds for termination in NZ employment law. Asking people working with vulnerable people to be vaccinated against the disease causing that pandemic is a reasonable request. The only virtue signalling was from the nurses who martyred themselves on the altar of misinformation.
3) No, the Three Waters reforms aren't just handing control over critical infrastructure to Māori. In the proposed legislation, 50% of members of the new controlling entities will be representatives of relevant territorial authorities, 50% representatives of mana whenua, that is, relevant Māori tribes. 
I can explain why the reforms are necessary if you like, but it's not directly relevant to the current discussion.
The make-up of the new entities is in line with the constitutional principle of partnership between the Crown and Māori, derived from legal interpretations of, and attempts to reconcile, the differing texts of the Māori version of the Treaty of Waitangi and the English version.   Remember that NZ is a common law country, so, like the UK, we have no explicit constitution, and previous legal decisions set the basis for further decisions, so our constitutionality law is shaped by legal precedent.
The link you shared is misinformed at best, deliberate racebaiting misinformation at worst, there's a bit of that going around, and it's often expressed by people who grew up when racism against Māori was commonplace. The man who operates the website you linked runs a hydraulics firm, he's not a constitutional lawyer, just so you know.
I'm happy to explain more about our country if you're looking to learn more.
To minimise _one form_ of death. If you locked everybody in their houses forever, nobody would die of car accidents, but more people would die of other things. All the studies now show that lockdowns achieved no reduction in overall mortality, they just delayed things a bit, and led to a bunch of other issues like increase in alcoholism/depression and significantly impaired childhood development.
Controlling the bodily autonomy of another by way of coercion falls under every definition of natural justice I have ever read. Which one are you using which permits this?
>2) Refusing a reasonable request from an employer is grounds for termination in NZ employment law. Asking people working with vulnerable people to be vaccinated against the disease causing that pandemic is a reasonable request. The only virtue signalling was from the nurses who martyred themselves on the altar of misinformation.
I get that you support the government's decision. I am simply pointing out that firing hundreds of nurses during a global pandemic was a bad idea, conceived solely to exert power and control over a badly needed cohort of public health workers.
>3) No, the Three Waters reforms aren't just handing control over critical infrastructure to Māori. In the proposed legislation, 50% of members of the new controlling entities will be representatives of relevant territorial authorities, 50% representatives of mana whenua, that is, relevant Māori tribes. 
Your response amounts to "you're wrong, but yes you're right." Is it Orwell day today? You don't get to just call whatever you don't like "misinformation." You admit that an unelected group comprised of 50% of people specifically chosen for their race will be in charge of selecting the governing board of a public asset. You've made it very clear that you like the racial discrimination and attack on the fundamental pillars of democracy in New Zealand, but you don't get to gaslight anyone into believing it's not happening. If you want to follow Labour into hell, the least you will do is be honest about your intentions.
You did say "effective control", which 50% isn't.
> You don't get to just call whatever you don't like "misinformation."
The title of the page you linked to is "THREE WATERS REFORM TO GIVE IWI/MĀORI DOMINATING INFLUENCE" - 50% is dominating?
You think that co-governance directly attacks the pillars of NZ democracy? Funny, I thought that te Tiriti o Waitangi was the founding document of that nation, and that the principles of the Treaty are key to how we manage our democracy.
Obviously we vastly differ in how we interpret NZ's bicultural foundational bones, you seem to view co-governance as a fundamental threat, I view it as the Crown actually doing what we said we'd do back in 1850, which I'm very much in support of. But then I also guess it depends on how you interpret kāwanatanga and tiro rangatiratanga.
After all, NZ Europeans did promptly ignore the terms of the treaty, and go to war to steal land from the Māori, then confiscated some more land by force, even from iwi who were the Crown's allies in the New Zealand Wars, and made agreements to buy land, which provisions which were not honoured for over a century, in order to satisfy the demand from European colonists.
Oh, and then there was the deliberate efforts by the Crown to suppress Māori culture, and to disrupt their way of life.
I dunno, I just prefer it if our country was based on "treating the people who lived here first fairly".
> I get that you support the government's decision. I am simply pointing out that firing hundreds of nurses during a global pandemic was a bad idea, conceived solely to exert power and control over a badly needed cohort of public health workers.
Once again, failure to follow reasonable requests from an employer is grounds for termination. They failed to follow a reasonable request, they lost their jobs. Yes, nurses are needed, but nurses who are potential vectors for spreading Covid to people _who are in hospital for existing health problems_ are very much not needed.
> conceived solely to exert power and control over a badly needed cohort of public health workers.
That is just your subjective belief, unless you've sighted a policy document from the Minister of Health that says "Mwahaha, let's show those uppity nurses who's boss".
Your take on the Three Waters reforms is just completely wronghewded, there is so much misinformation about those changes it's ridiculous. Water systems need fixing up in NZ and it makes no sense to let small local councils do it when larger bodies can borrow at better rates to get the infrastructure work done.
Isn't it amazing how people who don't like the truth accuse others of "wrongthink." Go ahead and read the legislation for yourself (https://www.dia.govt.nz/Three-Waters-Reform-Programme). 50% of the Regional Representative Groups must be made up of Maori.
A pandemic in which they were at the frontlines, observing both the effects of covid on patients and the effects of the vaccines, yet they were more afraid of the vaccines than covid. That should tell you something about how safe the vaccines are.
As someone who matches exactly what your first clause says, I fully agree with this; especially since he apparently has not even been judged yet.
Just take a look at up coming legislation, I think its the MMP system that slows down these laws.
They will still happen just at a slower pace and with better timed PR.
Indeed and I wouldn't recommend any debate anymore. That ship has sailed 2 decades ago at least. While it shouldn't be that way the only option is technology. Technology made encryption a reality for many people and many governments didn't like that at all. I have no faith in the judiciary to set sensible rules for executive overreach so letting technology make safe communication a reality is necessary.
So we should always make sure to supply technology that allows for encryption and that the knowledge and development stays open enough so that it can be replicated.
In the end this will costs those governments massively in the long run.
Eg. The Republicans won’t stop passing manifestly unconstitutional legislation at state level. They force the thing to be played out rather than accepting what’s obvious and not attempting it to begin with.
Though this is rather off topic so maybe we should leave it there.
Examples? You can’t just make extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence.
When challenged in court a week later, the government recinded it (so the court case was dropped). A formal inquiry requested cabinet minutes on the decision to use the Emergency Act which was denied until very recently (when it was challenged in court and the media).
It's very much a "we will do what we want and you can go ahead and sue us", but of course by then, the damage is done in the sense that infringement of our rights just got a little bit easier.
No doubt the inquiry will raise concerns, but not until next year when it'll get minimal attention in the news cycle and the Prime Minister will say "At the time it was the right decision...we only take away rights when there is no other option...democracy is safe..."
He was banned from using a device that can access the Internet.
As an American, I can tell you just because a movement should exist doesn’t mean it will.
> the person subject to the order must somehow produce a key for whatever
> data gets sent to him
Maybe spam finally has a use! If a case could be made that all - or any - spam contains a steganographic message, then there is plausible deniability that the recipient would not have the means to decode any - or all - messages sent to him.
Though I'm sure that the law has tools to contend with technically contrived examples such as this, somebody versed in the relevant law could probably stretch the idea to a murkier legal area and apply it.
The simple way to move on is to just move on. Please help me: datalisp.is.
When compared to bail conditions for other charged crimes which may also be strict and context-related (eg. trackers or keeping distance from a victim of violence) it sounds tough (and right to be strictly monitored under rights laws) but not necessarily unreasonable.
Is it wrong/excessive/draconian? Possibly. But I don't think a knee-jerk assumption that it is any of those things is appropriate.
So yes, this is a draconian bail condition that is meant to do harm against the few Australian that seek to prevent harm to come to you.
But here I think they got nabbed on a city road protest and charged for the blocking of coal transport. Though it sounds like blocking the coal exports actually happened before the new law was in force, meaning the new charges are basically vindictive.
Maybe you get more window repairmen and less police, but which is better for society is still an open question.
^1: or up to 10k people working an hour late, which is a cost in and of itself.
And can also force its citizens to implement backdoors and basically be spies even in foreign countries and companies.
Ironically the only state which has legal X rated content and legal cannabis is the Australian Capital Territory which is where all the politicians live. (equivalent to DC).
And to be honest, I am OK with this. A lot of negative change in the US seems to be coming from a SCOTUS that nobody voted for and that the regular population cannot overrule without a constitutional amendment.
> Stick of Truth: Banned because of a scene of sexual violence involving minors.
Sounds to me like the censors are doing a good job.
> Banned for drug use related to incentives and rewards.
> Banned because of sexuality and nudity in relation to incentives and rewards.
> Banned because of high impact violence and torture.
> Banned because of high impact bloody violence.
I wouldn't take this as representative of Australia as a whole though - In many other respects we have excellent institutions and strong rights.
We also keep giving police 'temporary powers' that end up becoming permanent.
We lost anything worthwhile when we lost the right to protest. The ludicrousness of thinking its acceptable to have to apply for a permit to protest is sheer insanity.
> Mr Rolles has pled not guilty and is awaiting trial.
And it certainly seems extreme:
> Mr Davis said one of his clients had been pulled in by police after they reacted with a "thumbs up" emoji to Facebook comments shared by friends who were also allegedly part of Blockade Australia activities.
> "A thumbs up, it's not much in terms of communication," the activist told the ABC.
> "The fact that the state finds that threatening — people talking and sharing our ideas — is very telling."
> No breach of bail charges were ultimately pursued over the "likes".
Taken literally he wouldn’t be able to do online banking or access any encrypted website.
Yep, this is what happens when you let people in technical and legal positions be harmfully stupid for decades on end.
Would obfuscation be considered encryption?
And what about remote access? Is ssh or remote desktop considered off-limits? How could such usage even be policed when it's their own device with no tracking software installed?
Has the US ever violated one of its citizens 'innate rights'?
Constantly, there are thousands of professional constitutional lawyers and government officials arguing over the interpretation of that document and the precedents set by historic interpretations.
Ie, your government is actively in the process of deciding how the legal system interacts with the citizens and the constitution, which is definitively your government giving you the rights. See, every 2A Supreme Court battle ever.
>definitively your government giving you the rights
Because we've gotten lazy and allowed it. Most of our legislative buildings have public balconies above the floors where laws are made. The architecture is sort of a reminder/implicit threat. Or it was, once upon a time. "We're watching you. Don't make any laws that are draconian".
Short answer: no. The federal government (Congress) can propose amendments, but ratification requires the approval of a 2/3 majority of the 50 states' legislatures (38/50).
And remember that in the US, the governments of each state are not just sub-divisions of the federal government, but totally distinct entities with their own constitutions, legislatures, elections, etc. The federal government has no direct control over the states, and thus can not force them to approve an amendment.
So, to change the US Constitution, 39 separate governments need to agree, and that's a pretty high bar.
In practice, you simply need the minimum majority of the supreme court to agree with an 'interpretation' of the constitution that gives you what you want.
But assuming the rule of law still exists, there is no way the Supreme Court would be able to "interpret" the Constitution to allow amendments in another way. The Constitution is very explicit about the amendment process, and it has been performed by that process 27 times to date. No way to "interpret" your way out of that.
(OK, yes, I know constitutional conventions are another route. But that has never been tried.)
Imagine telling a bunch of 20 year olds in the national guard they're going to kill some dangerous domestic terrorists. Imagine What happens if they don't think those people are really dangerous.
Who have the power to do that?
Does individual state have army?
In practice, I fully expect that those rights are only a jedi mind-trick "Your rights are not being violated" away in any case where it is of actual consequence (e.g. Assange)
Seems to me that about half your population no longer has an inalienable right to bodily autonomy.
Not to mention that once your security apparatus gets involved, your rights are as ephemeral as gossamer. Cross the wrong cop and you’ll find that your rights are terminated. Permanently and with extreme prejudice.
The Constitution isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on once you attract the attention of the government and it’s forces. Same as any citizen in every country on this planet.
Clearly not true when you consider how many cases the government itself loses.
But that's the kicker. If the government does take inalienable rights away, you still have them, it's the gov't that needs correction, not the right.
You are more than a century late. The government has prohibited people from putting drugs in their bodies for a long time. Alcohol, illegal drugs, pharmaceutical drugs rejected by the FDA... There is no serious interpretation of "body autonomy" that gives the government the right to ban alcohol/drugs but doesn't give it the right to stop women from killing fetuses.