Over 350 people gathered in the CBD Sky Phoenix Restaurant on Friday 19 October 2012 to support the NSWCCL Annual Dinner.
Professor George Williams AO tonight launched a national campaign led by the NSW Council for Civil Liberties to wind back the excessive and disproportionate powers given to ASIO in the decade since 9/11. "The greatest assault on civil liberties in Australia since World War II."
Professor Williams is a leading Australian expert on anti-terrorism legislation. He left the audience in no doubt that the campaign was needed:
"The ASIO powers remain rotten at their core. They confer unprecedented powers on a secret intelligence agency that could be used against the Australian people by an unscrupulous government.
In addition, David Marr delivered the keynote address on Free Speech and the Politics of Hate.
David Marr said:
‘Political discourse has grown savage. Not in living memory have civility and liberty been so at loggerheads in this country. Voices clamour to defend the absolute free speech of racists, misogynists, bigots and liars. Hate merchants demand the right to spread hatred. Anti-vilification laws are under sustained attack. Yet a high public official is ruined for making private, unpleasant remarks about women’s genitals. We’re living in contradictory times. Where do those of us committed to free speech stand in a world where public discourse is both brutal and squeamish?’