All are innocent before guilty … though some are more innocent than others

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It is reassuring that members of the Labor party have rediscovered the notion of innocent until proven guilty. I await their support to change many of those Acts in which they have reversed that traditional onus of proof.

Take for example, the Queensland Vegetation Management Act 1999, which basically stops farmers from clearing trees that they own. Section 66B(2):

(2) A statement of any of the following matters in the certificate or report is evidence of the matters stated in the absence of evidence to the contrary

… (f) whether vegetation in a stated area has been cleared;

(g) whether a stated area is or is likely to be an area of remnant vegetation or regulated regrowth vegetation.

And section 67A(1):

The clearing of vegetation on land in contravention of a
vegetation clearing provision is taken to have been done by an
occupier of the land in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

Perhaps a similar provision could be added to the government’s attempts to improve the regulation of trade unions. Something like the procuring prostitutes using a union credit card is taken to have been done by the owner of that card in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

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