APF Newsletter 8 November 2014

Chair’s Report of November 2014

APF’s policy activities have continued unabated, with about 60 contributions during the 12 months since the previous AGM. Governments, government agencies and corporations are very active in abusing the privacy of citizens and consumers. The current Government has proposed yet more measures that are supposed to assist in counter-terrorism, but that are merely populist, are almost entirely unjustified, and are grossly disproportionate. The APF’s work, in conjunction with civil liberties organisations and increasing numbers of individuals and ad hoc groups, is vital to the retention of freedoms.

Members will have continued to see media reports of the exploits of APF’s Patrons and members of its Advisory Panel. Among the many notable items have been the work of the Hon. Michael Kirby on the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, the elevation of the Hon. Dr Barry Jones from Officer (OA) to Companion (AC), and the award to Dr Mary O’Kaneof the Pearcey Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement in the ICT industry. As this Report was finalised, The Right Hon. Malcolm Fraser AC CH and The Hon. Dr Barry Jones AC co-published a powerful Opinion Piece in the Fairfax papers on the latest government initiatives to persecute refugees, and Julian Burnside AO QC was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize for “his brave and principled advocacy for human rights and for those wronged by government, for insisting that we respect our international legal obligations toward those seeking asylum …”.

This AGM sees the retirement of Dr Juanita Fernando, who has served since 2008 both on the Board and as Chair of the APF’s Health Committee. During that time, she has invested a vast amount of effort in the eHealth arena. This has involved about 50 submissions, and many meetings and appearances before Parliamentary Committees, on APF’s behalf. Juanita submitted a retirement letter to the Board. Our sincere thanks to Juanita! We’re delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Bernard Robertson-Dunn as Juanita’s replacement as Chair of the Health Committee.

Subject to approval by the members at the AGM, the Board will be expanded from 15 to 18, and the number of Vice-Chairs will be increased from 2 to 3. The Board welcomed two new members during 2014 – Andrew Roffey and Angela Daly. Three further members will join the Board at the AGM – Dr Bernard Robertson-Dunn, Liam Pomfret and Dr Adam Molnar. The composition of the Board balances depth and breadth of experience with youth and vibrancy, ensuring ongoing effectiveness in defending the privacy interest.

This AGM sees my retirement from the Chair after serving in that role for 8 years, since 2006. I have provided a Chair’s Report covering the period 2006-14.

You can complement the work of the Board by making your own contributions to the APF’s work, in a variety of ways.
The Life Membership Fee has remained unchanged for more than a decade, and is a snip at $275.
APF accepts extended Life Membership Fees after 5 years, and Donations to assist with research and travel are also very helpful.

Roger Clarke, 8 November 2014