This Group covers a broad range of civil liberties and human rights issues, focussing on those that don’t naturally fall within the other groups. Priority areas in the last few years have included: a Human Rights Act for NSW, along with the ongoing campaign for an Australian Charter of Rights; climate justice; LGBTIQ+ rights, women’s rights; anti-discrimination law; freedom of expression; and achieving better and more democratic governance through balanced and effective anti-corruption bodies and reform of the framework for delegated legislation.
We also track Australia's human rights violations.
A current focus area is our right to protest
Submission: Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013
NSWCCL has made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee concerning the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013.
"Both world-wide historically and in Australia in recent times there has been much discrimination and worse against LGBTI people.1 Unlike, say religious or political views, people cannot change such characteristics (and if they could, they should not be expected to). Though some protection is provided by State and Territory legislation, the provisions vary between these jurisdictions, and their coverage is restricted. The bill will contribute to an improvement in LGBTI persons' situation. We urge its speedy passage--as an important measure until a revised Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill is introduced."
NSWCCL has made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee concerning the Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013.
"the proposals in the bill have the potential to impact greatly on many Australians, young and old alike, who do not necessarily possess any criminal intent, without providing sufficient nexus to the more serious offences the bill aims to prevent."
NSWCCL has made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee concerning the impact of Federal Court Fee increases since 2010 on access to justice in Australia.
"The ability to access the courts is a civil right. It is essential that persons can access the courts to ensure that they are able to exercise their freedoms and liberties and enforce their rights and others’ obligations.
All persons must, as a matter of their civil rights, have the capacity to access the Federal Court regardless of their financial situation or other means. In addition, the fees associated with accessing the Federal Court must not act as a material detriment to their accessing the court if they judge that doing so is an appropriate course of action."
NSWCCL has made a submission to Greens MPs in relation to their invitation to comment on the draft Human Tissue Amendment (Trafficking in Human Organs) Bill and the accompanying discussion paper.
"We have considered the clauses carefully. We cannot support the proposed legislation.
...CCL holds therefore that legislation which is to operate extra-jurisdictionally outside Australia should be confined to matters where the United Nations has mandated such extrajurisdictional operation in an international treaty."
NSWCCL has made a submission to the NSW Ombudsman concerning their review of the Summary Offences Act 1988 Section 9: Continuation of intoxicated and disorderly behaviour following a move on direction.
The submission expresses concerns regarding the loose definition of 'disorderly' conduct, and the subsequent high degree of discretion granted to police in determining whether behaviour is disorderly.
"In the view of the NSW CCL, behaviour can only be considered 'disorderly' if it disrupts the order of the environment for other people at the time the behaviour takes place or some in the future - behaviour can only be considered 'disorderly' in respect of its impact on other people. It makes no sense for behaviour to be considered disorderly if there is no disorder created for one or more other persons."
NSWCCL has made a submission to the NSW Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee no. 4's inquiry into the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
"The NSW Council for Civil Liberties considers that drug use should be addressed as a health issue, not a legal issue.
The use of cannabis for medical purposes should be decriminalised to allow its use if medically qualified people consider that it has health benefits.
The Committee should recommend that a trial of medical cannabis be commenced as soon as practicable."
NSWCCL has made a submission to the inquiry into the Exposure Draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012
NSWCCL supports Australia’s continuing commitment to international human rights instruments, and regards the consolidation of legislation within this Bill as an attempt to meet such obligations.
NSWCCL notes that the operation of the legislation will allow exceptions within areas such as social security, migration and marriage policy. Discrimination in these areas is as arbitrary as anywhere else. NSWCCL opposes these exceptions.
Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee concerning the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010 - April 2012
NSWCCL has made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee concerning the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010
The submission argues that it is the best interests of society to allow the marriage of same sex couples, and that the current situation causes harm by perpetuating existing prejudices. It is also fundamentally unjust to provide the many benefits of marriage to heterosexual couples, while denying them to same sex couples without any reasonable cause.
NSWCCL considers the introduction of secular Ethics Classes as an alternative to Special Religious Education (SRE) classes in 2010 to have been an important reform, going some way towards providing parents and children in public schools with long denied, secular options to faith based SRE classes. We are therefore, strongly opposed to the Education Amendment (Ethics Classes Repeal) Bill 2011. It aims to reverse this reform and reinstate the discriminatory denial of any alternative educational activity for children choosing not to attend faith based SRE classes: a truly anomalous denial of rights in public schools which are otherwise required by legislation to provide ‘strictly non-sectarian and secular instruction.
Submission on Australia’s Fifth Report under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) - November 2011
NSWCCL has made a submission on Australia’s Fifth Report under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).
NSWCCL endorses the proposed actions contained in the CAT report, and additionally calls for special attention on the issues of the treatment of incarcerated persons with mental illness/cognitive impairment and the effects of long term immigration detention.