Author Archives: Ian Cunliffe

Ian Cunliffe

About Ian Cunliffe

Lawyer, formerly senior federal public servant (CEO Constitutional Commission, CEO Law Reform Commission, Department of PM&C, Protective Security Review and first Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security; High Court Associate (1971) ; partner of major law firms. Awarded Premier's Award (2018) and Law Institute of Victoria's President's Award for pro bono work (2005).

Australian values and obligations: a follow up

We often hear politicians spouting about ‘mutual obligation” – usually in the context of Centrelink benefits or the like.  The emphasis seems always to be on what the recipient of benefits must do – not on the obligation of Centrelink … Continue reading

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Australian values: what are they and what has Covid done to them?

Australia is the only common law country with neither a constitutional nor federal legislative bill of rights. Only a few rights are constitutionally protected. For the most part, we have all the rights that Parliament and the common law have … Continue reading

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Juukan Gorge – the thick plotens

Under cross-examination, Federal Environment Minister, Sussan Ley made two major admissions on ABC Radio National last Friday over the destruction of the two ancient Aboriginal rock shelters at Juukan Gorge. The shelters had been inhabited for 46,000 years, and now … Continue reading

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The atrocious foreign interference law – It doesn’t add up  ​

When, for example, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) receives grants from the US State Department to undertake research projects it is an admission that it is engaging in conduct on behalf of a foreign principal.

Posted in Defence/Security, Top 5 | Tagged | 5 Comments

Robodebt and suicide

Department head stubbornly avoids answering questions on the role of Robodebt and the death of Australians and whether she apologised for those deaths.

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Judicial independence: the Nazi or the Australian way?

In an age when the Parliament nearly always does the bidding of the elected government and in a country which, uniquely amongst democratic nations, has no Bill of Rights, the courts are vitally important as a protection against arbitrary power. 

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How big government and big companies erect communications barriers

We can’t communicate with the entity except on terms dictated to us, and those terms are often weighted against us.  This trend is so universal it must be deliberate.  It surely increases disillusionment and even anger.

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The life and times of Robodebt and its victims

On 4 August, my article described the surprising criminal law traps which lie in wait for anyone who is robust towards Centrelink in their defence of Robodebt victims.

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True crime confessions – being rude to Centrelink

Last year, a Senate inquiry into RoboDebt was told that more than 2000 people died after receiving their initial RoboDebt letter, many apparently by suicide. I act for numerous RoboDebt clients.

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1975 and all that

45 years have passed since the most controversial crisis in Australian political history – the dismissal of the Whitlam Government by the Governor-General on 11 November 1975.  But it was not the first dismissal of an elected government by a … Continue reading

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