NSWCCL News

Call to, lift secrecy around police Taser use after mentally ill man's death

NSW Council for Civil Liberties says force has not released statistics about stun gun use for six years

Civil liberties groups have demanded more transparency around the police use of Tasers after a mentally ill man died during a police arrest in Sydney on Sunday.

Read complete article: Call to lift secrecy around police Taser use after mentally ill man's death

Source: The Guardian

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The NSW Government's anti-protest laws challenged after police target a Lock the Gate bus

Police “monitored the behaviour” of people on a Lock the Gate bus tour for hours on February 3 and 4 after deciding it was a “protest group”, and despite Lock the Gate publicising the event as a chance for Sydney and Newcastle supporters to meet mining-affected communities over meals at Bulga, Camberwell, Muswellbrook, Wollar and Bylong.

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Submission to PJCIS Inquiry into the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017 - February 2018

NSWCCL worked with other councils for civil liberties through January and February to respond to the large, complex and alarming Espionage and Foreign Intervention Bill 2017 and the related Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform Bill 2017. These Bills encompassed much beyond foreign intervention and national security. They also encompass an extraordinary multi-faceted attack on civil society’s right to participate in public political discourse.

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Religious Freedom Review

NSWCCL Submission: Religious Freedom Review

There are four areas in which rights might be better dealt with in Australian law: freedom of speech, (for and against religions), freedom to practise, freedom from discrimination and protection against hate speech and incitement to violence.

This submission is in the way of a statement of the NSWCCL’s general views on the issue and 
areas we think are in need of attention:

  • Human rights and Australia’s obligations: International law
  • Australian Law—a summary.
  • Four areas in which rights might be better dealt with in Australian law
  • The relation between freedom of religion and other rights.
  • The functions of a bill of rights.
  • Relevant sections of Australian bills of rights.
  • Balancing principles.
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First 2018 meeting of the asylum seekers and refugees action group

Members of the Council for Civil Liberties Asylum Seekers Action Group, people wanting to be members, and interested others, are invited to our meeting on Wednesday February 14 at 7.00 p.m.

We plan to meet every second Wednesday of the month.

 

 

 

 

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Submission to New South Wales Law Reform Commission: Review of Guardianship Act 1987 - February 2018

We acknowledge that persons without decision-making abilities, or a limitation thereof, are vulnerable members of society, and such persons should be supported to make decisions concerning crucial aspects of their lives in order to be afforded an opportunity to live as  comfortably and freely as others. Hence, insofar as the draft proposals of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission (‘NSWLRC’) on its review of the Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW) promote these individuals’ civil liberties in both the public and private domains, we support the proposed changes to the current arrangements existing under the Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW).

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Review of Guardianship Act 1987

New South Wales Law Reform Commission: Review of Guardianship Act 1987

 

We acknowledge that persons without decision-making abilities, or a limitation thereof, are
vulnerable members of society, and such persons should be supported to make decisions
concerning crucial aspects of their lives in order to be afforded an opportunity to live as
comfortably and freely as others. Hence, insofar as the draft proposals of the New South
Wales Law Reform Commission (‘NSWLRC’) on its review of the Guardianship Act 1987
(NSW) promote these individuals’ civil liberties in both the public and private domains, we
support the proposed changes to the current arrangements existing under the Guardianship
Act 1987 (NSW).


Overall, we strongly endorse the NSWLRC’s draft proposals because we believe that the new
framework, as contemplated by the Assisted Decision-Making Act, better protects and
promotes the civil liberties of persons affected than the schemes supported by the
Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW). As a result, this submission will be limited to only those
aspects of the NSWLRC’s draft proposals which could be improved to better protect civil
liberties of the persons affected.

 

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7 News interview – visa cancellations

"The moment they choose to ignore those rules, their civil liberties go out the door."

This attitude is plain wrong. The consequence of this attitude is that 2 Australian citizens were wrongfully detained because of immigration failures:

Australian citizens wrongfully detained because of immigration failures, report finds

We are all entitled to civil liberties, even when we do the wrong thing.

 

 

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Rail strike 'unlawful'-in whose interest?

On Thursday (25/1/18) the Australian Fair Work Commission found the planned 24 hour strike and a ban on overtime by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union to be 'unlawful'. The decision to take strike action came after a lengthy period of negotiation with the employer in support of a pay and conditions claim, had failed to deliver an acceptable outcome.

Given the disturbing stagnation in workers’ wages in recent years, NSWCCL accepts that the Union's claim is justified and that this dispute will continue until satisfactorily resolved.  Our main civil liberties concern is, however, the apparent broader implication of the judgement. 

On face value-noting that more detailed reasons for the decision are yet to come from the Commission – the terms of the judgement appear to render future lawful strike action relating to major service delivery almost impossible.

The Commission found that the overtime ban and the proposed strike, separately and together, ‘threatens to endanger the welfare of a part of the population’ and ‘the industrial action threatens to cause significant damage to the economy of Sydney – the largest and most economically important city in Australia.’

The Commission’s ban is in force for 6 weeks. Hopefully in that period the Government might be more open to responding fairly to the Union’s claims. Otherwise, it is difficult to see – given the wording of the decision – that any future proposed strike by the union at a later date could be deemed lawful.  (Or overtime ban, given that the actions were deemed separately certain to cause the specified harms).

The right to strike is a fundamental civil liberty and human right. This decision imposes unacceptable restrictions on the right of workers to withhold their labour to negotiate terms and conditions of their employment, without an agreement of just terms between the parties.

If the Fair Work Act allows this finding it should be amended. 

NSWCCL has issued a public statement expressing its concern in relation to this decision.

 

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Submission to PJSCEM Inquiry on Electoral Funding and Disclosure Bill 2018 - January 2018

This Bill will not deliver the reform to electoral funding that is urgently needed in Australia. It will however, deliver a devastating blow to civil society’s capacity to participate in political advocacy and to the broad freedom of political communication.  

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