The 25 March NSW state election comes at a time when civil liberties in this state are under siege. Our right to protest and freedom of speech have been assaulted by both major parties with their joint support for the now infamous Roads and Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. The laws criminalise even brief obstruction of a road, train station, port or other piece of public or private infrastructure. The penalty is up to two years imprisonment and or a fine of up to $22,000. Freedom of assembly, political participation and freedom of expression should be core values and beliefs of our political leaders, instead we have leaders who are determined to shut down peaceful protest.
We have seen both major parties double down against strong evidence to the contrary and refuse to decriminalise low-level use of illicit drugs. An $11 million inquiry, led by Commissioner Dan Howard, recommended if someone is found with small quantities of drugs for personal use they should be directed to health services rather than the justice system. The inquiry concluded the "war on drugs" was an outdated mindset and criminalising use and possession stigmatised people. Both of our current major party leaders disagree with decriminalisation.
Over this last year we have witnessed some of most catastrophic flooding events in NSW history with hundreds of families in Lismore losing their homes. Both major parties have lukewarm climate change policy and will continue further investment into coal and gas.
Only the NSW Greens and the Socialist Alliance have committed to not only revoking last year’s draconian protest laws but to repeal these measures. These parties have clear policies to adopt a health based response to illicit drug use and take strong action on climate change.
We asked all NSW candidates and major political parties about their stance on a range of civil liberties topics. The results speak for themselves, with a comprehensive fail for the Liberal and Labor parties (download PDF version major parties/independents).
NSWCCL thanks those who participated for their time and thoughtful responses. Sadly the Liberal and Labor parties did not respond and we have scored these parties based on their published policy. Scores: Green tick - strongly positive; amber tick - neutral; question mark - unclear policy position; red cross - negative policy position.