NSWCCL in the media

Stephen Blanks talks about the 2016 Census

NSWCCL President Stephen Blanks chats with hosts of 2UE News Talk Radio Jon Stanley and Garry Linnell about the privacy issues around the 2016 Census. 

Audio: Stephen Blanks Chats with John and Garry 

Source: 2UE 954 Radio.

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NSW Police announce plans to give former officers identity cards

Former police officers are to be issued with identity cards they can carry around in their wallet to acknowledge their service. New South Wales Police plans to hand out the first ID cards by the end of the year.

However, Stephen Blanks from the NSW Council for Civil Liberties described the plan as "extraordinary".

"The idea of issuing a card to former police officers is absolutely absurd. It is entirely predictable that it will be used by former police officers to get favours from shops and local businesses, who will feel intimidated into giving free goods and services because of a concern that putting a former police officer offside might cause them trouble."

He said such a card could also be used to fool people into thinking the holder still held a position of authority.

Article: NSW Police announce plans to give former officers identity cards

Source: ABC

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Support for laws to keep terrorists in jail after sentence

The Federal Government received some crucial support today for its plan for a tough new anti-terrorism detention regime.

New laws would let convicted terrorists be kept in jail after finishing their sentences, if they were deemed still to be a risk to the community.

Civil libertarians have raised concerns. Outside wartime, Australian law does not usually allow for indefinite detention.

Stephen Blanks from the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties argues the intense surveillance available under control orders is enough.

STEPHEN BLANKS: What is the point of those halfway regimes if they aren't to keep the community safe within the principles of a free society? And remember, if we give up having a free society, we're creating incentives for terrorists to attack us. 

Article (with Audio): Support for laws to keep terrorists in jail after sentence

Source: ABC PM

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Legal experts divided on Turnbull government's latest terrorism laws

Legal experts are divided on the need for the Turnbull government's latest swath of terrorism legislation that would allow convicted terrorists to be kept in jail once their sentence ended if they were deemed a risk to public safety.

The New South Wales Council of Civil Liberties president, Stephen Blanks, said the legislation was a distraction from the issue of dealing with the risk of terrorism.

"People who have been convicted of serious terrorism offences are in jail for many years to come. We're not being told who is about to be released that they're concerned about." Mr Blanks said.

"With the sex offender cases, there were particular individuals that we were told were about to be released that represented a danger. We're not being given that information now. I don't think there's anybody about to be released, this is possibly just window dressing."

Article: Legal experts divided on Turnbull government's latest terrorism laws

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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Turnbull says terrorist threat in Australia is real as he pushes for indefinite detention

Malcolm Turnbull has warned Australians that the threat of terrorism in Australia is real as the Coalition prepares to push ahead with new measures for indefinite detention of some convicted terrorists after attacks in Nice and Kabul.

His announcements follow his direction for a review by the counter-terrorism coordinator Greg Moriarty on the implications of the lone terrorists such as the attack in Nice, which killed 84 people.

But the president of the New South Wales Council of Civil Liberties, Stephen Blanks, said it was a fundamental principle of a free society people were “at liberty unless you’ve committed a criminal offence and been convicted”.

“The reality is that anybody leaving jail who the authorities think is not repentant will be subject to the most intensive monitoring that is imaginable,” Blanks told the ABC.

“Terrorism offences are so broad that planning an offence, thinking about planning an offence, attempting to plan an offence, doing any preparatory act is itself a criminal offence so the authorities will pick up anybody who reoffends, like that.”

Article: Turnbull says terrorist threat in Australia is real as he pushes for indefinite detention

Source: The Guardian

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Terrorists may soon be detained indefinitely in Australia

The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has proposed legislation that would allow for convicted terrorists to be held indefinitely in prison if considered a threat.

Australia has no Charter of Human Rights which would require the Parliament or the courts to consider whether counter-terrorism laws comply with human rights principles. Without this charter, the Australian Government can operate in a legal grey area.

The NSW Council of Civil Liberties president Stephen Blanks told the outlet there is every possibility these proposals are just "window dressing," as the general public will not be told when terrorists the Government is concerned about are released.

Article: Terrorists may soon be detained indefinitely in Australia

Source: Mashable Australia

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Laws to keep high-risk terror suspects behind bars an 'attack on a free society'

Proposed laws that would see high-risk terror suspects behind bars have been labelled an attack on freedom by civil liberty groups.

The federal government is reportedly considering fast-tracking laws to keep high-risk offenders locked away, even after their sentence is served.

But Stephen Blanks, president of the NSW council for civil liberties, told Neil Mitchell it wasn't the answer.

He said it undermined one of the key aspects of a free society.

"It's handing terrorists a victory," he said on 3AW Mornings.

Article (with Audio): Laws to keep high-risk terror suspects behind bars an 'attack on a free society'

Source: 3AW Mornings with Neil Mitchell

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Census 2016: changes an "abuse" of public's trust

PRIVACY experts claim people may list false information on next month’s census because their names and addresses will be kept as part of the data.

Previously identifying information was destroyed once the other census data had been recorded but it will now be kept until 2020.

An Australian Bureau of Statistics spokesman yesterday said all personal information would be stored “securely and separate” but the NSW Council for Civil Liberties warned that some people’s concerns over how the government might use the information could cause a backlash of false information, from income bracket to religion.

“If people know their information will be identifiable and retained by the government, then it is very likely some people may chose not to answer all the questions honestly,” president Stephen Blanks said.

“We now have some politicians calling for discriminatory action against people of a particular faith, for example. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for them to think twice (before filling out the survey).”

Article: Census 2016: changes an "abuse" of public's trust

Source: The Daily Telegraph

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'High Steaks' - Barbecue owners feel the heat

THE great Australian tradition of having friends over for a barbecue might get the chop for unit dwellers under changes to strata laws.

Tenants who create too much smoke when barbecuing their sausages on balconies could face fines of up to $2200 – double the penalty under old laws. It will also impact smokers, if the smoke from their cigarettes or cigars drifts into neighbouring units.

The new rules acknowledge that smoke drift, such as tobacco and barbecue, can be considered a “nuisance or hazard”.

NSW Council of Civil Liberties president Stephen Blanks said it could be considered un-Australian but there was no civil right to smoke or to barbecue.

“It might be un Australian to try to stop people using their barbecue but problems between neighbours do arise and there needs to be mechanism in place to deal with it,” he said.

Article: Barbecue owners feel the heat (click here for offline version)

Source: Inner West Courier

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Anti-protest laws under the spotlight at pub

NSW Council for Civil Liberties (CCL) president will be guest speaker at New Politics in the Pub on Wednesday July 27 from 6.30pm at the Court House Hotel in Mullumbimby.

The topic of discussion by president Stephen Blanks will be the recently introduced anti-protest laws by the Baird Liberal/Nationals government that radically extends police powers against opponents of mining projects and heavily fines those who ‘lock on’ to mining equipment.

It’s called Inclosed Lands, Crimes and Law Enforcement Legislation Amendment (Interference) Act 2016 and only passed with votes from two crossbench parties: the Shooters and Fishers Party and Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party.

Article: Anti-protest laws under the spotlight at pub

Source: Echo Netdaily

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