The Executive of seven officers and two other committee members is elected each year. The Executive conducts business in between Committee meetings and meets on the 2nd Wednesday of each month in the NSWCCL office.



Stephen Blanks


Stephen Blanks became President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties in October 2013, having been Secretary since 2005.  Stephen has been a solicitor since 1985, and has a small legal practice located in Rozelle, Sydney.

Stephen has been a member of NSWCCL since 1993.  He was prompted to join when acting for a book publisher who had published a book about corruption and a NSW Government agency wrote to all major booksellers demanding that they not sell the book.  NSWCCL was vital in obtaining publicity for the publisher, leading to a speedy withdrawal of the demands.

Stephen’s particular civil liberty interests include asylum seekers, free speech, privacy and racial vilification. 

Although Stephen’s legal practice is primarily commercially focussed, Stephen has over the years taken on many legal cases involving civil liberties issues, including cases involving unpopular asylum seekers, protesters, paedophiles and people smugglers.

An important part of Stephen’s involvement in civil liberties is supervising Australian and foreign students undertaking internships.

Stephen appears frequently in the media commenting on issues involving civil liberties. 

Vice President


Pauline Wright


Pauline is a principal of P J Donnellan & Co Solicitors in Gosford.  With a background in criminal law for the first 15 years of practice, she is also an accredited specialist in Local Government and Planning Law.  She graduated with a BA LLB in 1985, and was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales that year. 

Pauline has been Senior Vice President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties since 1998 and has been active particularly in the areas of criminal justice, anti-terrorism and asylum-seeker policy.

In addition to her activities with NSWCCL, Pauline has also served on the Council of the Law Society of NSW since 1995 and was elected Treasurer in 2013.  She chairs the the Finance, Environmental Planning and Development and Criminal Law Committees and is a member of the Indigenous Legal Issues and Disclosure Committees. 

Pauline also sits on a number of committees and working groups of the Law Council of Australia including the Access to Justice Committee. She is a member of the Equality of Opportunity in the Law Committee

She is a past Vice President of NSW Women Lawyers and is a member of TCOL Limited (the College of Law) and has served as a Governor of the Law and Justice Foundation and Commissioner of the Legal Aid Commission of NSW, where she continues to sit on the Legal Aid Review, Serious Criminal Law Selection Panel and Specialist Barristers Selection Panel committees.  She is also a past director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and is a director of the Public Interest Law Clearing House.

Pauline is also a keen ocean swimmer, surf lifesaver, singer, actor, theatre producer, director and writer.

 Vice President


Dr Lesley Lynch


Dr Lesley Lynch joined NSWCCL in 2006 because the escalating  attacks on civil liberties  post 9/11 made it the  obvious site for renewed activism.  Lesley was elected Assistant Secretary in 2007 and Secretary in 2013.   

She has been active in a number of the sub-committees, was convenor of the Privacy sub-committee and has been the Convenor of the National ASIO  Campaign  since its launch in October 2012.

Lesley has a long history of activism in anti-war and anti-apartheid campaigns, gay liberation and, especially, the women’s liberation movement.  Professionally she has been a school teacher, university teacher and researcher in history and politics and, from the 1980s a public  servant in NSW. As a member of the senior executive service she worked closely with a number of ministers on strategy and policy issues and was a member of many state and national boards and committees. In 2004/5 she worked on AusAid programs in PNG .

Lesley works on a number of fronts within CCL but her major interests are policy and strategy directions and organisational renewal.

Lesley has a BA (hons) and PHD in History from Sydney University.

 Vice President 


Liam Burgess



Liam joined CCL in 2005 and has been an active committee and sub-committee member. He has previously served as the Treasurer and then Vice-President. Liam works for King & Wood Mallesons law firm where he sits on the KWM in the Community Board, chairs the Human Rights Law Group and coordinates the firm's Public Interest Litigation Clinic partnership with Sydney University Law School.

His CCL work has encompassed internet filtering, sentencing procedures and extradition laws and, more recently, has focussed on litigation relating to adverse ASIO security assessments and indefinite detention as part of CCL's broader campaign on ASIO powers



Therese Cochrane



Therese became Secretary of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties in October 2015. Therese is a lawyer who has studied and worked in Australia and Europe. Her work in private practice and in-house has been in banking and finance. She has been interested in human rights and civil liberties since university and has participated in various organisations and campaigns over the years. Her focus is the treatment of asylum seekers (particularly children), maintenance of the rule of law and privacy. She has undergraduate degrees in economics and law from the University of Sydney and a Masters Degree in law from the University of Cambridge. Therese is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is also President of ChilOut, Secretary of We’re Better Than This and a director of a small public company.



Rebecca Yu


Rebecca was elected Treasurer in 2012. She started working with NSWCCL as the office coordinator in 2009 gaining valuable operational knowledge and experience of NSWCCL. Rebecca has been working with the organisation in various capacities and roles during the past five years. She is now also convenor of the Fundraising Subcommittee.

Rebecca holds a Masters Degree in accounting from Macquarie University and is a member of CPA Australia. She is passionate about working  with NSWCCL to build a solid and sustainable financial foundation for the council.

Assistant Secretary


Vacant l



Committee Representative





Committee Representative





Other committee members