The Palmer United Party has been accused of breaching Tasmanian electoral laws by publishing the names and photos of political opponents without their consent. Clive Palmer said the law “was only directed at people who published, printed or distributed, and of course our party has not printed, published, or distributed anything—it’s all been done by the Hobart Mercury“. Palmer may have a point: while some rules extend to people who “permit or authorise another person to publish” material, section 196 is narrower. However, a letter sent directly to voters by Palmer also apparently breaches the law. He declared: “I intend to write another one tonight you know, because nobody is going to stop me as a Member of the House of Representative having a dialogue with the Australian people.” He suggested the High Court’s decisions on freedom of political communication would protect him: “There’s no legal problem. Any first-year lawyer can tell you that. You’ve only got to read the high court judgments on it and you’ve only got to read the Act.”
“In 2013 alone, NSW police responded to more than 40,000 mental health incidents; while in Victoria, the police apprehend one person every two hours and take them to hospital for assessment.” There is a concern that current police training and organisational structures lead to poor outcomes for people with mental illnesses.
The Commonwealth government has prepared a bill to expand police powers to seize unexplained wealth. However, critics say a single national scheme is required, although States are reluctant to give up their power.