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."
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
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.”
Source: The Guardian
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.
Source: Mashable Australia
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
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).”
Source: The Daily Telegraph
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.
Source: Inner West Courier
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.
Source: Echo Netdaily
The police commander who held off ordering tactical officers to storm the Lindt cafe until after hostage Tori Johnson was killed has told an inquest gunman Man Haron Monis “had the same rights as anyone else”, prompting the victim’s mother to charge out of the courtroom, calling the officer “an absolute disgrace”.
The inquest heard evidence that police commanders cannot order a sniper to kill a hostage-taker, and each officer must make his or her own assessment of whether a shot is justified.
“If someone is in the process of committing a crime, a serious crime, as Monis was, that person can be subjected to a lawful response,” the president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, solicitor Stephen Blanks, said. “A lawful response enables the police to use all necessary force in order to bring the commission of the crime to an end and to arrest the offender. The police don’t have a right to kill a person who is committing an offence unless the police or somebody else is being seriously threatened and there is no reasonable alternative to the use of lethal force.”
Source: The Australian
Vision of a NSW police officer pointing his gun at a man after a pursuit is reminiscent of the United States and underscores the importance of recording all police interactions, the NSW Council of Civil Liberties says.
Mr Blanks said the incident was reminiscent of high-profile police incidents in the United States, "but for the fact that it didn't end with the driver being shot dead".
"Certainly the timing of this coming to light, when we've seen what's happened in the US, really drives the point home to the public that we need to be safe from police misconduct,"
"We need to see the police management and hierarchy keeping us safe and condemning use of inappropriate force."
"Incidents like this only come to light because they're recorded on video," Mr Blanks said.
NSW Police said in a statement that they would review "the circumstances of the prosecution and the court's decision".
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
It is almost a year since Sydney Harbour’s $250 million headland reserve opened to the public, but if the 27-page rule book governing what can and can’t be done at the park is anything to go by, visitors haven’t had much fun there.
Critics of the stringent rules say it is just more evidence of Sydney’s “nanny state”, while nearby residents fear the reserve is being taken away from “ordinary people”. Last month, three-year-old Nicholas Atkinson was told to stop flying his kite at the “near-deserted” stargazer lawn he was sharing with “six other people at most”.
“I thought (the guard) was joking. There was plenty of room and we weren’t inflicting ourselves on other people,” his dad Brendan said.
Stephen Blanks, the president of the NSW Council of Civil Liberties, said the rules went too far and were not in the public interest. “I think it’s a nanny state and it’s also completely inappropriate for a public space to be so closely regulated, particularly when the space is being impinged upon by private development,” he said.
“If you can’t fly a kite in a park, where can you?”
Source: The Daily Telegraph