“You stretch the law as much as you can, then you stretch the conduct as much as you can, and then you apply an unreasonable amount of discretion, and look what you've got now!”
Last edited: 15th November, 2015.
There are politicians in some of the best known democracies of the world, who jet around the world telling non-democratic communities how democracy rocks! But does it really rock? Can there be instances of abuse of democratic processes without letting the cat out of the bag?
These are big questions to be answered here on this small page. But this page will provide an example of when a democracy can go wrong, and how it goes wrong.
To give you a brief history of the current issue, before sharing the important links, let me take you back to 2014.
Around July 2014, after releasing my song "Show me the woman that you are", I actively started pursuing avenues to shoot a music video for it. As you will all be aware, the music video was subsequently shot in Bali in November 2014, and released on 7th January, 2015 (worldwide via YouTube). However, such a project cannot be shot on a peanuts budget. It cost me nearly AUD 10,000 for the project. But as it happens, I was broke at that time (and no better today, duh!) and I made some major payments using my credit card. To cut the long story short; when the video was released I still had a credit card debt in excess of AUD 2500 against my name. But this is not the complete picture.
From July to November, there was this time when I was doing four different things at the same time; studying law (I am now in second year Bachelors of Law at the Adelaide University), writing novel (Mishiida Alexander - Stalking Shadows), organizing the video shoot (making arrangements for everything from shooting permits to wardrobes, booking locations to finding talents) and working part-time as a sole-trader to pay back my credit card at the same time. The work on new music had been put on hold completely during this period, and you will remember the delay in release of my next single "Bankrupt in Love" (Funny that was my actual condition at that time financially, by Australian standards where bankruptcy means a lack of ability to pay back debts as and when they become due). Unfortunately, as it happens when you are distracted by so many things, I lost my wallet in around middle of October (How great!). In my wallet was my accreditation to carry on the part-time business as a sole trader. Now even though someone had found my wallet, and that gentleman of a person duly returned it to me, but there was a delay in between that meant that I had to get all my cards (credit, Medicare, Medibank, license and accreditation) renewed. This set up the premise for the current story to unfold.
As a part of the accreditation renewal, I had to apply for a clearance from the "Department of Community and Social Inclusion", that I am a safe person around kids. Now those of you who are aware of the incident that had happened between me and that girl from Los Angeles, you'd be surprised to know that nearly a year later I finally got a certificate from the department that certifies that "Amanpreet Singh Rai poses a risk to the safety of children"! Now how cool is that? Mind boggling, isn't it?
But the relevant question is: what accountability does democracy provide to an ordinary citizen when a law breaches the principles of natural justice? There are too many interest groups influencing our law making processes today, and then you add a self-serving media into the picture and things become a mess. With political careers and economic interests having overtaken the zeal of righteousness in political circles, it is not what is in the best interests of an ordinary man which is determining the law making processes these days. It is what will blind the public with a high objective glitter and gloss that is being churned out by our legislatures. What I have talked about in my communications below is not just common sense, but the very basics taught in our law schools, and yet there are people, some making laws and others administering them, who somehow have forgotten everything, or so it appears. What’s worst; they’ll have the audacity to justify themselves!
Let me take you through the incident step by step. The relevant communication and documents can be viewed by clicking on the links below (mostly JPG pictures).
I didn’t start my work six years ago to give it all up. Have I given up on anything that I had started in 2010? What makes anyone think that I will do so now? If anyone wants to get into the mess, I have only one thing to say: “You are welcome.”
- What’s up: After patiently waiting for a clearance certificate for nearly nine months, I finally decided to check up with the department to see what’s happening. Had I had a girlfriend, she would have had twins by then!
- Nothing yet: And there was a customary reply seeking identification details.
- I obliged: with my details.
- Intresting information: I allegedly had a name match on the system which meant additional checks. This set me wondering as to what it could be. Given my active political and social activism, I was immediately interested in knowing what was happening down here.
- Seeking further information: So I requested more details.
- And it goes south: I got a phone call in response, but I clearly told the officer that I shall only deal with the matter in writing, because telephonic conversations do not constitute a record unless you tap them or you are the NSA. Unfortunately the system match in the first email had suddenly changed to the information that I had provided myself, about a civil restraining order. Now as will become evident in subsequent emails, a person is not required to provide information about anything which does not form a part of a criminal conviction, and we are talking of a civil matter which is not even a conviction, but just an order about not to contact someone. Pissed off, yes I was, for I study law and this is ridiculous.
- Red flagging the issue: So I first explained the basic principles of law (in red box) and then red flagged the issue by mentioning my intent (in green box). I mentioned my website (green underline) to make sure they had access to all the details relevant to the matter, that have been in public domain since 2010, to make sure they don’t have a reason to say that I didn’t provide them leads to do their job. Irony of the fact is: if they have a name match on their system, they should have the requisite information too. Duh!
- Further south: So I received a formal invitation to present my side, which is a requisite for procedural fairness. Here’s the letter. But the point is: it’s nobody’s business to go through my private affairs, and that’s it. There’s the red line!
- Another chance: So I gave the department another chance, by clearly stating the basic legal principles. As far as information the department was asking was concerned; neither am I required to give any personal information to anyone, nor I am going to. If parliamentarians are going to lose their mind and pass a legislation that destroys all democratic decency, then Amanpreet Singh Rai is the first man they will run into. Besides, as I mentioned, if they had a name match then they should have the information too, and moreover, if they did their homework, the website link was already provided to them.
- And the disgrace: If you think you are living in a society run by intelligent and capable people, this should be a shocker for you. It was for me! Suddenly a civil restraining order had become an “offence”. Pissed off, yes I was. People not only need lectures in democracy, they also need tuition in law. And to think of it; this is the level of intelligence and ability of our lawmakers and law-administrators. The email itself said that I don’t need to respond or provide any information, and then the information already available will be used to determine the matter. Well, how much more information does one need than what is there on my website already?
- Tough talk: So I duly reminded them, there is “no” offence that needs any disclosure. And I warned them, not to make an idiotic mistake and make a decision not supported by evidence. I reminded them, this is Australia and not UAE or Saudi Arabia.
- The final contact: This was the last email I got from them before I was mailed a certificate.
- The certificate:This is what their intelligent minds could come up with, after almost a year, on 14th October, 2015.
- Reply to the certificate: So I had to send in my first lecture on democracy, and also seek information for review, because I wanted to give them one more chance to make amends.
Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss "Amanpreet Singh Rai"