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 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 is the President of the Law Society of NSW for 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.

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.

Pauline has also been President of the Central Coast Chapter of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (NSW Division) for the past several years and is a Vice President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, having been actively involved with the Council since 1988.

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 this year 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


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, Secretary in 2013 and Vice President in 2015.   

She has been active in a number of the sub-committees including convenor of the Privacy sub-committee and of the the National ASIO Campaign  from its launch in October 2012. Lesley is currently convenor of the National Security and Counter Terrorism  and the Criminal Justice Action Groups. 

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 


Josh Pallas 




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.




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





Committee Representative





Committee Representative





Other committee members