CCL members gathered on Wednesday evening in the City of Sydney Council Chambers for the 52nd Annual General meeting of the NSW Council. It was a well-attended, lively and productive meeting.
The 2015/16 executive and committee were elected. It was noted with considerable satisfaction that since the 2012 AGM, when an executive renewal and diversity protocol had been discussed and endorsed, there has been considerable renewal of both the executive and the committee. This has been a natural process driven by retirement of some long standing members and a strong influx of highly talented young members over the last few years. The Secretary Lesley Lynch noted that over 50% of the current committee have been elected post 2012 and that the age profile –based on an impressionistic assessment- was close to optimal for CCL with 10 being ‘young’, 7 ‘in their prime’ and 5 ‘aged wise’. This is a robust profile with continuity of knowledge and experience complemented and challenged with an influx of new ideas and approaches.
It is clear NSWCCL will move into 2016 with a terrific Committee and Executive
The Constitution was updated without debate to more fully accommodate current communication technology.
Major policy resolutions formulating NSWCCL’s response to disturbing current threats to our liberties and rights were discussed and endorsed. These included:
- committing to a renewed campaign for a broad Australian Charter of Human Rights to protect against the disturbing trend for counter-terrorism and national security laws to encroach unwarrantedly on citizens’ fundamental rights and liberties
- rejecting the idea contained in the recent proposed amendment to the Australian Citizenship Act of 'Australian' values as relevant to citizenship rights
- disbanding the anti-democratic, militarised Australian Border Force
- removing the veil of secrecy around Australia's offshore processing regime for asylum seekers
Stephen Blanks presented an oral President’s report outlining the broad political context and civil liberties issues of the year. Lesley Lynch tabled a comprehensive Secretary’s report including details as to the state of the organization and its major activities over the year. Both Stephen and Lesley expressed positive views about the state of CCL and –albeit tentatively- some hope that the depressingly negative political landscape of the last few years might be under successful challenge.
Rebecca Yu tabled a positive report on the years finances- with CCL’s income having been boosted by the significantly larger than usual profit from the annual dinner. The independent auditor’s report was positive.
Stephen Blanks thanked those Committee and Executive members who were not re-nominating for their contributions over the years to CCL and indicated his hope they would continue to be engaged in our activities. He noted that while Cameron Murphy was not re-nominating for the Committee, he would assume a special role as one of CCL’s two honorary life members - (Michael Kirby is the other).
After the formal business, members enjoyed a lively post meeting social courtesy of the Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney, Councillor Robyn Kemmis.