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.
Comments from Lydia Shelly, President, NSW Council for Civil Liberties
We are concerned that the Crimes Amendment (Prosecution of Certain Offences) Bill 2023 is due to be
rushed through NSW Parliament without scrutiny, including the likely impact on the vulnerable
communities most at risk of public violence.
We note that faith-based groups, such as the Lebanese Muslim Association, have indicated that they
have not had ample time to consider the impact of the proposed amendments on their community and
that they desire for the Bill to be referred to the Standing Committee for Social Issues (“the Standing
Both the Minns Government and the Opposition should heed the calls from community and religious
groups and refer the Bill to the Standing Committee.
This would allow other sections of the public, such as other faith communities, the Queer community
and legal and civil liberty organisations to make submissions to the Standing Committee on the proposed
amendments to section 93z of the Crimes Act 1900, including whether the amendment should operate
This would facilitate an open and transparent process where evidence could be submitted, and
communities could have their voices heard. The Standing Committee would produce recommendations
that would allow both the NSW Government and the Opposition, as well as the public, to have confidence
in the process and any possible amendments that are introduced as a result.
There is no basis for legislative reform, especially those that are so important that they intend to operate
to protect vulnerable communities, to be rushed without appropriate public scrutiny or even scrutiny by
the very vulnerable communities that the reforms assert to protect. This is a dangerous environment to
introduce legislation and those elected to serve the public have an obligation to ensure that such an
environment does not become normalised in our parliaments.
We are also concerned that if the Bill proceeds to pass without referral to the Standing Committee, it will
send a worrying message to the public; that is, that the public’s views are trivial and unimportant to the
extent that the Government and the Opposition do not believe that they should be afforded the
appropriate time to be able to reflect and consider the proposed amendments. This further risks eroding
fundamental principles of democracy and degrading our parliaments in the public.
There is absolutely no urgency for the Bill to pass without the appropriate referral to the Standing
We cannot continue to place all of our collective hopes that a “law and order” approach to issues relating
to public threats of violence and social cohesion can be ultimately addressed by legislative reform.