Executive

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.


President

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Pauline Wright

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Pauline became President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties in October 2018, having been actively involved with the council since 1988 and including service as Vice President for a number of years. Pauline graduated in Arts Law in 1985 from Macquarie University. She was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1985 and has been in private practice since then and is a principal of PJ Donnellan & Co Solicitors in Gosford. She is an accredited specialist in Local Government and Planning Law and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

Pauline has previously served as the President of the Law Society of NSW during 2017, having served on the Council of the Law Society almost continuously since 1997. She chairs the Environmental Planning & Development Law committee and is Deputy Chair of the Future Committee. Pauline has also been President of the Central Coast Chapter of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (NSW Division).

A recent appointment to the Executive of the Law Council of Australia, Pauline sits on the LCA’s Access to Justice, National Criminal Law Liaison and Equality of Opportunity in the Law committees. She is also a past Director of the Law and Justice Foundation and the Legal Aid Commission of NSW, chairs Legal Aid’s Monitoring Committee and has sat on a number of panel selection committees for Legal Aid as well as its Human Rights committee.

Apart from her wide experience in local government, planning and environmental law, Pauline also has considerable experience in property law and commercial litigation and an extensive background in criminal law and was the long-term chair of the Law Society’s Criminal Law Committee.

Pauline's main interests outside the law are theatre, music, ocean swimming and surf lifesaving and she was a founder of the 5 Lands Walk community cultural festival on the Central Coast of NSW in 2005. She was, until taking up her appointment with the Law Society of NSW, Vice President of the 5 Lands Walk Inc and President of the 5 Lands Artists Collective Inc.

 Vice President

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Dr Lesley Lynch

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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, Secretary in 2013 and Vice President in 2015.   

Lesley has a long history of activism in anti-war and anti-apartheid campaigns, gay liberation and 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 NSW public servant.  As a member of the senior executive service she worked closely with a number of ministers on strategy and policy issues and was the member of many state and national boards and committees. In 2004-5 she worked on AusAid programs in PNG

Within CCL she has been active on many policy issues including national security, counter-terrorism and the surveillance state, democratic electoral processes, protest rights, effective anti-corruption bodies at state and federal levels and decriminalisation of abortion. She convened the Privacy, Freedom of Information and Justice groups and  from 2012-14 the National ASIO Campaign. Lesley is currently convener of the National Security and Counter Terrorism Action Group and works with  civil liberties bodies across Australia to provide national responses to the serious encroachment on rights and liberties of the veritable tsunami of national security laws. 

Lesley has also been strongly engaged in the organisational and administrative aspects of CCL's work including the annual dinner, the interns/volunteers program  and the development of the current website. In recent years she has worked with others to drive renewal and organisational reform within CCL. 

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

 Vice President 

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Josh Pallas 

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Josh Pallas is a Solicitor at Levitt Robinson in the human rights and general litigation teams. He holds First Class Honours degrees in Law and Politics from the University of Wollongong and is completing a Masters by research on criminal law. Josh has previously been a Tutor and Research Assistant at the University of Wollongong in Law and International Studies. He commenced volunteering with CCL in 2014, when he completed an internship and has been a committee member since 2016. Josh has also volunteered with Inner City Legal Centre, and the International Humanitarian Law Department at Australian Red Cross.

 Vice President 

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Eugene Schofield 

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Eugene has practised criminal and employment law for nearly a decade, working in both New South Wales and the Northern Territory with NSW Legal Aid and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency. He is now an academic at Macquarie University Law School where he teaches and commentates on criminal law, the law of evidence and legal history.

His current work focuses on the evolution of civil rights and liberties in New South Wales and the numerous incursions against these liberties through ‘law and order’ politics since the mid-1980s. 
Eugene’s recent scholarship has examined the criminalisation of trade unions through the Australian Building and Construction Commission and The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption as well as the threatened closure of the ALS Custody Notification Service by the Federal Coalition Government

Treasurer

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Stephen Blanks

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Stephen Blanks became Treasurer of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties in October 2018, having served as President since 2013 and previously as 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.

Secretary 

 

Ama Somaratna

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Assistant Secretary

 

Karen Iles

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Other committee members