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 before the Committee on the 4th Wednesday of each month.


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 history of political 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 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 chair or member of state and national boards and committees. In 2004-5 she worked on AusAid programs in PNG

Within CCL she has been active on policy issues including national security counter-terrorism and the surveillance state, electoral processes, protest rights, effective anti-corruption bodies at state and federal levels and decriminalisation of abortion. She has been convenor of the Privacy and Freedom of Information and the Justice group 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 collaborate on national responses to the veritable tsunami of national security/counter terrorism laws and other national issues.  

Lesley has also been 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 other committee members to drive renewal and organisational change within NSWCCL. 

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 was elected as Vice President in October 2017.

He 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 

Eugene

Eugene Schofield-Georgeson 

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Eugene was elected as Vice President in October 2018.

Eugene is a law academic. He has practised criminal and labour law for over 10 years and has written a book on the history of criminal law and a range of articles. 

After convening the civil rights action group for a number of years and writing numbers of submissions on a range of human rights issues, he now convenes the police, justice and mental health action group. Eugene is an active member of the CCL Executive and General Committees.

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 partial criminalisation of trade unions, limitations on legal rights for public defendants, including Aboriginal people, as well as the ways in which social inequality impacts on the unequal realisation of civil rights and liberties'

 

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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Ama Someratna was elected NSWCCL Secretary in October 2018. 

 

Assistant Secretary

 

Karen Iles

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Karen Iles became Assistant Secretary in October 2018.

Other committee members