This year’s NSWCCL fundraising dinner was a ripper. It was a success on all fronts.
There was a splendid turnout of over 250 friends and supporters. The lively crowd appeared to be having a very enjoyable evening. A strong contingent of students and young members made their presence felt and overall the vibes were terrific.
Most significantly, the gathering was treated to a riveting address by the keynote speaker: Professor Ben Saul. His topic -‘The ideological war on human rights. Why are politicians so hostile to basic freedoms?”- was spot on for the times. It was directly relevant to the efforts of civil liberties organisations across Australia to temper the Government’s unwise and reckless over-reach in its avalanche of new counter-terrorism laws, its shameful asylum seekers policies and its general attack on traditional rights and liberties.
Professor Saul’s speech was wide-ranging, brave and insightful. It certainly set the room buzzing. – not just on the night but in various forums since. Much of the speech has been republished in The Guardian and parts on The Drum, NSWCCL has had huge positive feedback.
In his reply, Phillip Boulten SC both paid deserved tribute to Ben for the speech and offered some sharp perspectives of his own - including an exhortation to us all to engage with politics.
Vice President Pauline Wright was a superb MC and kept the evenings formal events rolling smoothly. Lesley Lynch NSWCCL Secretary gave a brief outline of the range and intensity of NSWCCL’s work over the last year and the generally depressing political context. She noted that while recent civil liberties victories were few, the organisation itself was travelling well. A notable development was its ongoing invigoration through the influx of young members and supporters. You can read or watch Lesley’s speech here.
Thankfully the event was also a financial success and will help sustain our work over the next year.