Welcome to the August 2016 issue of the NSWCCL Newsletter
In this issue:
National issues | Census | Asylum Seekers | Royal Commission into Northern Territory Juvenile Detention
NSW Issues | Anti-protest legislation | Euthanasia Bill
CCL Issues | Annual Dinner | Submissions | Update from National Security and Counter-terrorism Action Group | Join an Action Group
We join with many other groups to criticize the unwarranted extension of retention of census data, which raises serious privacy issues. Stephen Blanks has given numerous media interviews over the past weeks. The changes permit the ABS to retain names and addresses. Similar changes were rejected in 2006 and 2011. The changes have been brought in now with extremely limited public consultation, which is wholly inadequate in view of the seriousness of the changes. Visit the website of the Australian Privacy Foundation to see its research on this issue. Concerns have also been raised about the level of security around collection and retention of the data. Census night is Tuesday August 9, but the ABS has indicated that people will have additional time to complete the Census this year. Remember you are entitled to ask for a paper Census form to complete.
We welcome the action brought by Doctors for Refugees in the High Court against the secrecy provisions of the Border Force Act. These provisions allow for the imprisonment for 2 years of people such as doctors, nurses and social workers who disclose protected information regarding the conditions in immigration detention centres. Such provisions have a chilling effect on transparency and are contrary to basic democratic principles. The case argues that the secrecy provisions are contrary to the implied right of political communication in the Constitution. See our website for more. We will keep you updated on progress.
We need to keep the pressure on the Government regarding Nauru and Manus Island and the secrecy provisions in the Border Force Act. Take action by calling or writing to your member of Parliament. We have heard that snail mail often generates more interest from our elected representatives than email.
Royal Commission into NT Juvenile Detention
We were distressed to see the footage on Four Corners of the abuse of children held in the Northern Territory Don Dale detention facility. It is difficult to believe such abuse occurs in Australia in 2016. We welcome the establishment of a Royal Commission. We believe abuses such as those shown in the Four Corners report are contributed to by a culture of secrecy and lack of transparency, as well as a “tough on crime” attitude. We hope the Royal Commission is set up with appropriate terms of reference and can do its work quickly and independently.
As we mentioned in our last newsletter, extraordinary controls on the right to protest, on freedom of movement and association and a wide range of other constraints using police powers have been passed under new legislation: Serious Crime Prevention Orders (SCPO), Public Safety Orders (PSO) and the Inclosed Lands, Crimes and Law Enforcement (Interference). These laws are a blatant attack on the right to peaceful protest in NSW.
The pubic is very interested in this issue and Stephen Blanks has had many media interviews. We are working on a booklet and possibly an app with some information on what to do if you are arrested in these circumstances. More details soon!
We welcome the moves towards dealing with the issue of euthanasia. We have provided a submission to the NSW Parliamentary Working Group on Assisted Dying. We hope that the draft Bill will encourage debate and reform in this area.
News from CCL
We are delighted that the 2016 key note civil liberties address will be given by Bernard Collaery, internationally renowned barrister, lawyer and former politician in the field of civil rights and criminal law.
Is the right to truth central to the rule of law in a democracy?
Date: Friday 26 August, 6:30pm for 7pm sit down
Venue: Sky Phoenix Restaurant, Westfield Plaza, Sydney
Ticket prices: $150 per person, or $1400 for a table of 10, $1680 for a table of 12
Don’t miss out – buy your tickets now!
Not able to attend but want to support the dinner? SPONSOR one or more places
Every year we seek sponsorship for students, young lawyers and other interested supporters who cannot afford to attend this important civil liberties event.
NSW CCL has been busy making submissions and statements on a variety of subjects. Here is a list from the last few months:
See more details on our website.
Our action groups have been meeting regularly- let us know if you would like to come along to our meetings.
NSWCCL in the Media
Our president Stephen Blanks has had a busy time as usual in the media discussing civil liberties issues.
'Invasion of privacy': Household credit ratings made public online