The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) has called on police to withdraw their charges against legal observers during a climate change protest in Newcastle over the weekend. 

Volunteers known as Legal Observers actively participate in protests to safeguard the rights of demonstrators and enhance police accountability. Although they can be invited to attend protests, Legal Observers operate independently and refrain from involvement in the protest itself or decisions related to its course.

Designated as Human Rights Defenders by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Legal Observers engage in tasks such as distributing information cards, educating individuals about their legal rights, and documenting interactions through note-taking, photography, or videography.

During the recent weekend climate protest, organised by climate change activist organization, Rising Tide, Legal Observers were easily identifiable in pink high-visibility vests bearing the words "Legal Observer" in prominent black letters and openly communicated their presence and role to the police. Despite this, they faced charges for doing nothing further than what was within their role as Legal Observers.

This incident is not the first instance of Legal Observers being arrested while fulfilling their duties during protests.

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties supports the campaign for a Royal Commission into
Immigration Detention – including onshore and offshore detention on Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

The campaign for a Royal Commission into Immigration Detention is being launched at Parliament
House in Canberra on Tuesday 28 November 2023, hosted by Kylea Tink, Member for North Sydney.

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties has consistently raised our concerns with respect to
the proposed Crimes Amendment (Prosecution of Certain Offences) Bill 2023. We note our previous
press release issued on 23 November 2023 on this issue.

The Maritime Union of Australia Sydney Branch is aware of the wilful complicity of the corporate mass media and conservative politicians – both within the Coalition and the ALP – in attacking the motives and actions of peaceful demonstrators who have been campaigning for justice, peace and a ceasefire in Israel and Palestine over many weeks.

For more than a month now this has taken the form of suggesting through thinly veiled subtext that anyone supporting the plight of murdered, injured and displaced Palestinians is somehow deserving of condemnation.