Policy

Policy statement (2017) - voluntary assisted dying

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties has long supported the legalisation of Voluntary Assisted Dying measures.  While noting that, compared with existing VAD legislation in other jurisdictions, it is very conservative, the NSWCCL will actively campaign for the passage of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill currently before the NSW Parliament.

Stephen Blanks comments that what is not before the public is advanced legislation in NSW and it will come to the table 15 November or sometime later next month. We have a motion which is very timely and in reflection in our long support the bill before the NSW parliament.


Policy statement (2017) - national integrity (anti-corruption) commission

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties, alarmed at the corrosive effect of pervasive and serious corruption within, and related to, Government and public administration at the national level, strongly supports the urgent need for a national anti-corruption body.

This body should have a broad ambit across public administration (core public service bodies and public sector corporations), public sector contractors and parliament and politicians.

While such a body must have effective power to address current corruption, there must also be effective constraints and transparent oversight to ensure that the balance between the protection of individual rights and the fight against serious corruption is as well balanced as can be devised.


Policy statement (2017) - national human rights charter

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties reaffirms its long standing active support for a national human rights charter.

The recurrent resistance of Australia’s politicians to a number of widely supported attempts to introduce a national human rights bill/charter over the last 44 years has left Australia as the only liberal democracy without either constitutional or statutory broad protection for fundamental human rights.

This has been a significant factor in allowing the proliferation of national laws which seriously and unwarrantedly breach human rights and liberties. The extreme manifestations of this trend in the areas of counter-terrorism and refugee law and policy in recent years necessitates a renewed community effort.

The NSWCCL will again give priority to joining other progressive bodies to campaign for an Australian Human Rights Bill in the context of the next federal election.


Policy statement (2017) - marriage equality

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties, consistent with its long-standing support for GLBT rights, strongly supports marriage equality and urges the Australian Government and/or the National Parliament to amend the Marriage Act 1961 to achieve this equality. 

The current same sex marriage statistical survey is an inappropriate, seriously flawed and undemocratic exercise intent on delaying Parliament addressing the issue and generating divisive and harmful debate. Nonetheless, NSWCCL strongly urges the community to register a “Yes” vote so that Government has no excuse to further delay legislative action on this matter.

Regardless of the outcome of the flawed survey, NSWCCL urges the Australian Government and/or Parliament to address the issue in this parliamentary term and introduce and pass a marriage equality amendment consistent with clear majority support within the Australian community.


Policy statement (2017) - defense of the union movement

NSWCCL affirms the role of unions as an essential part of the Australian democracy in the defense of workers’ rights and affirms their right to support other organizations whose activities accord with their own.

 


Policy statement (2016) - Juvenile justice

1. NSWCCL advocates for a juvenile justice system that:

  • Prioritises the child’s best interests, including that it provides education equivalent to their rights within the community
  • Caters for children’s specific needs, particularly in relation to age, physical and mental wellbeing and cultural background;
  • Aims towards rehabilitation and social integration, not punishment, with detention only used as an absolute last resort in exceptional circumstances and for the shortest appropriate period of time;
  • Upholds children’s rights, including the right to liberty, security, freedom from arbitrary detention, and to a fair trial;
  • Ensures accessible and well-funded legal and social support services for children;
  • Treats children with respect and dignity;
  • Protects children from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;
  • Preserves a child’s relationship with family and community; and
  • Together with other social and educational institutions, undertakes proactive, preventative measures to divert young people from the criminal justice system and prevent re-offending.

 

2. In light of Australia’s human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and associated United Nations juvenile justice guidelines, NSWCCL calls for:

  • The minimum age of children’s criminal responsibility to be raised from 10 to 12 years old across all Australian states and territories;
  • The maximum age of criminal responsibility for young people to be raised to 18 years old;
  • The abolition of mandatory sentencing for children and young people;
  • The reduction of rates of young people in detention pre-trial on remand;
  • Clearer and more consistent prohibitions on punishment for children in detention across all states and territories;
  • The separation of young people younger than 18 years from adults in detention facilities, accompanied by the removal of Australia’s reservations to Articles 10(2)(b) and (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 37(c) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and
  • Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

 

3. NSWCCL supports policies aimed at reducing the incarceration rates of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. These policies should be developed in a way that is consistent with their rights under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including but not limited to the right to self-determination, autonomy and freedom from discrimination.

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Policy statement (2016) - marriage equality

NSWCCL supports amending the law on marriage so that no discrimination is made between prospective spouses on the basis of their sex; in particular, so that same sex couples can be married, and that those who have same sex marriages they have entered into overseas are recognised as married in Australia.

The arguments supporting this policy position are set out in the following submissions listed below:

2013
NSW Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues Inquiry into Same Sex Marriage Law in NSW
2012
Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee concerning the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010
2009
Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee concerning the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009