Welcome to the May 2016 issue of the NSWCCL Newsletter
In this issue:
National issues | Federal election | Asylum Seekers | National Integrity Commission
NSW Issues | Forum on new police powers | Serious Crime and Public Safety Bills
CCL Issues | Annual Dinner | Jim Staples | An Evening with Edward Snowden | Submissions | Congratulations to Hannah Ryan! | Update from the Justice Action Group | Join an Action Group
The election will be held on Saturday 2 July. There are many civil liberties issues to raise in an election context. Fill in a quick survey to let us know the issues of most interest to you!
Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees continues to shame us. We applaud the announced closure of several mainland detention centres. The situation on Manus Island remains unclear after the announcement by the PNG Prime Minister that the detention centre on the island will close. We noted with interest the fact that the PNG Constitution gave more protection to the asylum seekers held on Manus Island than they would have received in Australia. An appeal has commenced seeking removal of the asylum seekers and refugees from Manus Island to Australia. In addition, Broadspectrum (previously Transfield) which provides services at the offshore processing centres, will almost certainly be taken over by a Spanish company, Ferrovial, which has announced that providing services at regional processing centres will not form part of its services offering in the future. These developments call into question the continued operation of the offshore processing policy. We are appalled at the deteriorating situation on Nauru, which is receiving nowhere near the attention that it should. Help make this an election issue by writing to your member of Parliament demanding closure of the offshore processing centres and a more humane approach to asylum seeker policy, consistent with our international obligations. Our Asylum Seeker and Refugee Action Group will convene its next meeting shortly, so please contact us at email@example.com if you would like to attend.
National Integrity Commission
NSWCCL had intended making a submission to the Select Senate Committee considering a National Integrity Commission but time overtook us. The Select Committee has been disbanded following the proroguing of Parliament.
This is a complex issue for the NSWCCL. Our default position is to oppose bodies with extraordinary powers which exempt them from important principles of justice. Nonetheless, the disturbing prevalence of systematic corruption within the NSW government and (to a lesser extent) its agencies over recent times, has led us to support the work of the NSW ICAC as valuable and not able to be done by more conventional law enforcement agencies.
We have formed a preliminary view, for the same reasons, that there is justification for a carefully designed and constrained national integrity commission. We will take advantage of the parliamentary hiatus and do some further work to develop a possible NSWCCL position on this issue with the intention of putting forward a submission to the Government or Parliamentary committee at a later time.
We would be very interested in the views of members on this issue. (Contact Lesley Lynch –Lesley.firstname.lastname@example.org)
Forum on new police powers
On Wednesday 11 May, we will be joining a forum organized by David Shoebridge to discuss the proliferation of laws controlling public behavior in NSW. We will discuss the Bills creating Serious Crime Prevention Orders and Public Safety Orders, which are outlined below. We will also discuss the Inclosed Lands, Crimes and Law Enforcement Legislation Amendment (Interference) Bill 2016, which has been referred to as the 'Anti-Protest' Bill. More information is available on the Facebook page, or RSVP Directly Here.
Serious Crime and Public Safety Bills
Despite vigorous opposition from the Labor Party and the Greens, the NSW Parliament last week passed extraordinary new controls on the right to protest, on freedom of movement and association and a wide range of other constraints using police powers conferred by Serious Crime Prevention Orders (SCPO) and Public Safety Orders (PSO).If that was not enough, the Premier and Police Minister simultaneously introduced a disturbing new counter-terrorism bill into the Parliament, The Terrorism (Police Powers) Amendment (Investigative Detention) Bill 2016.
News from CCL
We are delighted to announce that Bernard Collaery, renowned lawyer, will be the speaker at our Annual Dinner on Friday 26 August at Sky Phoenix. Bernard has a distinguished career, with an international profile in civil rights and criminal law. He is a visiting fellow at Trinity College Cambridge. He is known as the lawyer acting for Timor-Leste in the proceedings in The Hague relating to the negotiation of a petroleum and gas treaty between Australia and Timor-Leste. Join us for an entertaining evening.
Honouring Jim Staples
Jim Staples, a founding member of CCL and a staunch defender of civil liberties, has passed away.
His contributions to civil liberties will not be forgotten, and NSWCCL is proud to have had him as a member and leader in the community for so many years. He leaves behind his wife Margot, sons Paul and Michael and daughter Brigitte.
An Evening with Edward Snowden
We are looking forward to attending an Evening with Edward Snowden in Sydney, which is being staged by ThinkInc. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden will be appearing via video link. We are running a competition for supporters who are yet to join CCL. The first 2 supporters to join CCL as members will receive a complimentary ticket to the event. Please email us at email@example.com when you sign up as a member to enter the competition. Supporters and members may also obtain a discount on the ticket price by entering the code NSWCCL when booking. See you on the 28th!
NSW CCL has been busy making submissions and statements on a variety of subjects. Here is a list from the last few months:
In the next few months of 2016 we expect there to be fewer inquiries, due to the Federal election.
Congratulations to Hannah Ryan, Fulbright Scholar!
We are excited to announce that convenor of CCL’s Privacy and Data Retention Group and Vice President, Hannah Ryan, has been announced as Sydney University’s Fulbright Scholar for 2016. Hannah is planning to study in the United States. We are very pleased for Hannah but will be sad to see her go! See more on the University of Sydney webpage.
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.
Anti-protest Laws 'draconian and oppressive'