Thank you to those who joined us and supported this year's NSWCCL Annual Dinner. The room was filled with hundreds of guests; civil libertarians, rights defenders and guardians of democracy.
We were delighted to be joined by Ita Buttrose AO OBE who delivered this year's keynote address.
The Saturday Paper described the event as' a grand affair bursting with judges, lawyers, politicians, scientists, captains of industry, academics, public administrators, journalists and other worthies', with Richard Ackland taking home the inaugural award for Excellence in Civil Liberties Journalism. Paul Farrell from the ABC’s 7.30 was awarded the Young Journalist's award, with Kate Allman from the NSW Law Society, awarded Highly Commended.
Placing our need to protect press freedoms within an international context, Ita spoke to recent events at home, indicating that there are storm clouds gathering around that way information is controlled. Whistle-blowers who bring stories to light must not be subject to a public show of prosecution under the guise of national security, or censored because their story may cause embarrassment or cost to those in power, in government, or business.
The Guardian and the ABC covered Ita's speech, referencing that the raids on the ABC, and a journalist's home, have tarnished Australia's reputation, whilst galvanising media industry and members of the general public who stand by the public's right to know.
'It is impossible to understate the importance of the public’s right to know and the media’s ability to inform. As the ABC’s Managing Director David Anderson said at the National Press Club recently: “media freedom is a proxy for public freedom”'.
You can read Ita's full address HERE.
NSWCCL President, Pauline Wright reminded guests that over the years NSWCCL has had a significant influence on public debate and government policy on a range of civil and human rights issues as well as representing individuals in cases of infringements of rights and liberties. 'We advocate to secure amendments to laws or changes in policy where civil liberties are not fully respected. We are not always wholly successful, but our efforts do remind those in power of the often unintended consequences of their proposals in terms of impacts on our rights and liberties.' Read the President's Speech HERE.
It was fabulous to have so many CCL members attend this year's dinner. We encourage those who have not yet, to join the NSW Council for Civil Liberties. Your support funds our work to protect rights and liberties in NSW, and more broadly.
With press freedoms under the spotlight, and human rights and civil liberties impacted by policy and legislation that negatively affects our citizens, and those seeking refuge, NSWCCL will continue to speak out, and to defend our rights and freedoms.