Civil Liberties Councils across Australia urge the Government- and failing that- the Australian
Parliament to ensure that the foreshadowed national security legislation is subject to proper scrutiny
and not rushed through parliament next week-as some media suggest is the Government’s intention.
The, as yet unseen, legislation will implement most of the 22 recommendations from chapter 4 of
the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Surveillance (PJCIS) report.
This is important legislation with significant implications for national security and for the workings of
our democracy. It is of fundamental importance that we get the balance right in this area.
Members of Parliament and the Australian public must have the time to consider and take advice
on these national security proposals before they are enacted into law.
Parliament must be certain the new laws are necessary, that they include strong protections for privacy and effective independent oversight of the use of these new powers by the intelligence agencies.
The Government should abide by the recommendations of the PJCIS and:
- release the proposals as an exposure draft bill for public consultation
- refer the draft legislation for review by an appropriate parliamentary committee (the CCLs consider the PJCIS most appropriate)
The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters today released its much anticipated interim report on its inquiry into the conduct of the 2013 federal election. The interim report deals with the Senate voting practices.
NSWCCL commends this hugely important report and supports its recommendations for urgently needed reform to the Senate electoral process.
The Senate electoral system is in disrepute. In the 2013 elections, fundamental democratic principles were breached. Consequently, NSWCCL has seen reform of the Senate voting processes as one of the most significant, current civil liberties issues and has made two submissions and appeared to give evidence to the Committee.
The Committee is appropriately scathing in its assessment of the 2013 procedures -as a few quotes from the Foreward well illustrate:
'The 2013 federal election will long be remembered as a time when our system of Senate voting let voters down.’
….‘Combined with pliable and porous party registration rules, the system of voting for a single party above the line and delegating the distribution of preferences to that party, delivered, in some cases, outcomes that distorted the will of the voter.’Read more
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties expresses its disappointment with the report on Oversight of Police Critical Incidents by the former Commonwealth Attorney-General Robert McClelland, which was released on 22 January.
That report not only rejected the calls for reform of the current investigative process, which involves police investigating police, but makes recommendations which have the potential to undermine the two regulatory bodies set up following the Wood Royal Commission to protect the public-- the Police Integrity Commission and the NSW Ombudsman.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties opposes the NSW Government’s proposal for mandatory sentencing for “one-punch” assault causing death with drug and alcohol related factors.
The proposed new laws will mean that persons found guilty of drug and alcohol fuelled “one-punch” assaults causing death will be subjected to a mandatory minimum sentence of 8 years in jail with a maximum of 25 years. Mandatory sentences for “one-punch” assaults have already been enacted in West Australia and the Northern Territory.Read more
The NSWCCL firmly opposes the Labor government’s PNG regional re-settlement agreement.Read more
The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties is concerned by the apparent spread of Western Australian legislation aimed at organisers of "out of control" gatherings. The Queensland Government is currently drafting similar legislation that includes imprisonment and significant fines for organisers, including parents of children whose parties become uncontrollable.Read more
The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties has lodged with the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee a submission vehemently opposing the Migration Amendment (Unauthorised Maritime Arrivals and Other Measures) Bill.Read more
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties today labelled the State Government response to the Law Reform Commission report on bail a “major disappointment”.Read more