NSWCCL Action Groups

Much of CCL's work  is done through Action Groups. Groups come together around current issues and to support the capacity of CCL to continue its work as one of Australia's leading civil liberties organisations 

Action Groups develop policies and strategies, run targeted campaigns, contribute to government reviews, advocate law reform, lobby government and other organisations, provide speakers and generally act to raise awareness of civil liberties issues in the community. 

Action Groups focused on building CCL’s communications, support networks and financial resources are absolutely critical to our capacity to sustain and expand our civil liberties advocacy


All Action Groups welcome participation from interested members or supporters 

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National security and counter-terrorism


This campaign aims to repeal or amend the most dangerous and undemocratic of  Australia’s Post 9/11 counter-terrorism laws. Current priorities are ASIO’s extraordinary powers, ASIO’s secret adverse security assessments of refugees consigning them to indefinite detention and the secret surveillance activities of security and intelligence agencies. 

Convenor: Dr Lesley Lynch Join

Policy Issues

Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Australia’s current asylum seekers policies and practices are a gross breach of human rights and decency. CCL gives very high priority to helping bring about fundamental reform to these policies. Current priorities are advocacy for the restoration of Australia’s commitment to respect and fulfil our international human rights obligations- especially in relation to the Convention for the Security of Refugees which the Australian Government has so shamefully repudiated in law and in practice. Specific priorities include the reinstatement of  a pathway to permanent visas,  an end to indefinite detention of refugees resulting from ASIO adverse security assessments, clear policy separation of ‘border security’ and ‘national security’   and an ongoing update of CCL policy in response to the latest Australian Government policies and practices.

Convenor: Dr Martin Bibby  Join

Freedom of speech and censorship; privacy and data retention; open government and whistle-blower protection

This action group works across several clusters of issues around free speech, privacy and open government.

Protecting free speech, free media and the right to protest from unwarranted censorship and constraint and promoting open government and whistle-blower protection are core concerns for this group.

The extraordinary growth in technological capacity in the digital age has transformed the reach of surveillance and the capacity for governments and corporations to collect store and analyse vast quantities of personal information.  The right to privacy is seriously threatened. Priorities include the current mandatory data retention bill, the ongoing review of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 2014, advocacy for a personal privacy tort, strong privacy policies regulating use of sophisticated surveillance technology.  The group also grapples with complex issues posed by the spread of web based social media and the tensions between free speech, access to information, privacy and the ‘right to be forgotten’.

Governments are winding back their commitment to open government and systematically undermining whistle-blower protections. A priority for this group is to resist and reverse these trends.

In relation to data retention and surveillance this group works closely with the National ASIO and Counter-Terrorism Campaign.

Convenor:  Join

Criminal justice, police powers and mental health

This group focusses on the laws, policies and practices relating to the criminal justice system, police powers, and the legal rights of persons with mental illness.  In broad terms the group advocates for the protection of the fundamental rights and liberties of citizens (eg presumption of innocence; right to a fair trial) in the justice system. These liberties and rights are currently under pressure from governments.

Current priorities include: NSW Government proposals to impose mandatory minimum sentences for a range of drug and alcohol influenced assault crimes in public places; monitoring the operation of unwarranted amendments to the NSW Bail Act and advocating their repeal; resisting excessive law and order policies which unwarrantedly infringe civil liberties in the coming NSW election In relation to police powers a major priority is the improvement of public confidence in the NSW Police by establishing an independent review process for serious police critical incidents ). Other priorities include the growth in warrantless police powers, indiscriminate and dangerous use of tasers and inappropriate and ineffective use of sniffer dogs in relation to illicit drugs.

Convenor: Dr Lesley Lynch  Join

Civil and human rights

This group focusses on a range of core civil liberties and human rights. Current priorities include electoral reform nationally and in NSW. The immediate focus is on the reform of Senate election processes post the 2013 election and advocacy for the repeal of the NSW City of Sydney Amendment (Elections) Bill 2014. Other priority issues include  same sex marriage rights; protection of a woman’s rights to abortion; resisting pressure to weaken anti-racial vilification laws; Indigenous issues and  promoting a charter of good parliamentary practice at state and national level.

There are growing concerns among civil society groups around the world as to the implications of global free trade treaties for democracy. This group is actively monitoring developments in the area, identifying civil liberties issues, and seeking to share ideas and strategies with other groups working on these issues.  A particular focus is the ramifications for democracy and civil rights of the investor state dispute settlement agreements built into these treaties.

The group will oversee CCLs response to the Governments Traditional Freedoms review and CCLs participation in the NGO Coalition to develop  Australia’s Universal Periodic Review 2015 for the UNHRC.

In the context of the NSW election the group will advocate policy reforms around civil liberties issues.

Convenor: Eugene Schofield Join


Organisational Issues


The communications group manages the CCL website including its people database, produces a regular digital newsletter The Civil Source , manages social media sites  and builds linkages with external media. The group's continuing priorities are to improve our communication with our members and supporters, expand the NSWCCL’s utilisation of digital content and social media, and, as an overall strategic priority, improve its digital campaign skills. 

Co-Convenors:  Therese Cochrane and Nikolas Cooper Join

Fundraising and Events


Apart from membership fees, CCL is dependent on its own fundraising to support its work. Activities planned for this year include a celebratory party for the awarding honorary life membership to Cameron Murphy, several parliamentary lunches and the annual civil liberties dinner. Priorities include attracting donations to support major campaign activities.

Co-Convenors: Rebecca Yu and Josh Pallas Join

Membership and Supporters


The core focus of this group is to build the membership and supporter base for CCL and to expand opportunities for their engagement with and involvement in the work of CCL.

Convenor:  Join


Support Networks

Legal Panel

CCL takes up court cases and related legal issues when a significant matter of principle or injustice  is involved.  Solicitors and barristers who join the legal panel provide expert legal support for these CCL interventions

Convenor: Malcolm Ramage Join


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