News

The Conversation - Reaping what we sow: cultural ignorance undermines Australia’s recruitment of Pacific Island workers

The cracks in Australia’s labour market have deepened since borders closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.  In response, the Federal Government has offered more work visas under the Pacific Australian Labour Mobility Scheme (PALM), allowing farmers to recruit more workers from Pacific Island nations, including Timor Leste. By the end of 2023, it is expected that 40,000 temporary migrants will be working on Australian farms.

The PALM scheme is seen by many Islanders as an opportunity to earn good money, build new skills, send money home to family and shape a better future. However, Australia’s workforce woes are causing a mass exodus of Pacific Islanders from their home nations which is putting pressure on Pacific Island development prospects.

Read more
Share

SBS: MTC facing accusations of gross negligence overseas.

The Management & Training Corporation (MTC) is the US based private prison operator currently running Nauru Regional Processing Centre. The $69 million contract held by MTC equates to approximately $750,000 per day to oversee the detention of just 111 refugees and asylum seekers.

The auditor-general is considering an investigation into a $69 million four-month contract granted to MTC Australia, to run "garrison and welfare services" for asylum seekers in Nauru. Its parent company has been accused of gross negligence, fraud, and has settled multiple cases where it was accused of being responsible for deaths.

Read more
Share

The Saturday Paper: Australia misses anti-torture deadline

Australia risks being placed on a human rights blacklist by failing to meet another deadline to implement an international anti-torture agreement.

The UN’s Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (Opcat) was ratified under the Turnbull government in December 2017, but Australia has since requested two deadline extensions to meet its obligations.

Read more
Share

HRLC: No further police powers once public drunkenness is decriminalised: Day family statement

This statement has been reproduced from the Human Rights Law Centre website at: https://www.hrlc.org.au/news/2023/1/16/day-family-statement

The Victorian Government has made a formal decision not to give Victorian police any new powers to arrest or lock people up in police cells once public drunkenness is decriminalised in November 2023.

The decriminalisation of public drunkenness was first recommended by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody over 30 years ago. Following extensive advocacy by the family of Tanya Day, the Andrews Government committed to decriminalising public drunkenness in August 2019 at the outset of the coronial inquest into their mum’s death.

Read more
Share

SBS News: 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup - Australia's Human Rights record on the world stage.

International sporting tournaments have always been a means of bringing the world together. The 2022 FIFA men's World Cup prompted the world to closely scrutinise the significant human rights breaches in Qatar, including its treatment of migrant workers, women and those of the LGBTQI+ community.

Eyes now turn to Australia and its co-host New Zealand, who are to host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. Australia will understandably face scrutiny in relation to its own human rights violations as the juggernaut of this football festival approaches. 

Read more
Share

Dr Hannah McGlade: Voice will empower us, not undermine Sovereignty

Dr Hannah McGlade, Member, UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues and, Associate Professor at Curtin Law School, in her recent essay explains that recognition of Indigenous peoples by way of the Voice referendum cannot be a ‘cession’ of Indigenous sovereignty. Dr McGlade, with over two decades experience in United Nations Law says "nowhere does the Voice to Parliament proposal suggest any agreement of Aboriginal people to cede sovereignty. To the contrary, the proposal recognizes the right of Indigenous people to be heard on laws affecting our people".

Read more here.

Share

Submission: Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Information Disclosure, National Interest and Other Measures) Bill 2022

NSWCCL has consistently voiced concerns about the potential for misuse of location data, collected by everyone from telecommunications companies to Google. In our recent submission to the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee we note that due care should be taken in widening law enforcement's access to personal data.  

The stated aim of the proposed ammendments to the Bill are to provide police with greater access to location data from phone companies to find missing people at risk of harm. NSWCCL agrees that the timely provision of information to law enforcement is critical to ensuring the safety of vulnerable and at-risk individuals. However, we argue that the current legislation allows disclosure of such information, under section 287 of the act, if emergency services believe “on reasonable grounds that the disclosure or use is reasonably necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of a person”. We do not agree that the appropriate balance between information privacy and the free flow of information has been achieved in the Bill.

Read more
Share

InnovationAus: Govt mulls facial recognition bill reheat

The Identity-matching Services Bill 2019 (IMS Bill) authorises the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) to create and maintain facilities for the sharing of facial images and other identity information between government agencies, and in some cases, private organisations.

The unusual recommendation to entirely redraft the Identity-matching Services Bill 2019 and significantly amend a supporting bill for automating passport data sharing came after expert evidence that the planned expansion lacked necessary safeguards.

Read more
Share

NIT: Report from major international rights group condemns high rate of Indigenous incarceration and deaths in custody in Australia

A major international human rights group has slammed Australian governments, state and federal, for their failure to uphold the rights of First Nations people in its 2023 World Report.

Human Rights Watch highlighted Indigenous youth incarceration among a number of areas of grave concerns in Australia in the report released this week.

Read more
Share

Yahoo News: Virus apps co-opted to fight bikie murder

Bikie boss Nick Martin's murder at a speedway in Perth left police wanting evidence in the form of QR code check-in data from the contact tracing apps of 2,439 fans who attended the December 2020 race, Yahoo News reports. 

A government order requiring people to share information in case of a virus outbreak meant anyone who checked in that day left their name, phone number and arrival time through the SafeWA COVID-19 app or on paper.

Police issued an "order to produce" the details to the state Health Department two days after Martin was shot and killed.

Read more
Share

City Hub: Climate activist Violet Coco freed as campaign to repeal anti-protest laws grows

Climate activist Deanne ‘Violet’ Coco was freed on Tuesday after spending 10 days in Silverwater Women’s Prison, seven of which were in isolation, City Hub's Wendy Bacon reports. 

Coco was the first person to receive a prison sentence under the new laws. Four other climate activists have been sentenced to prison for other protest offences in NSW this year. There are more than twenty other climate activists arrested under the new anti-protest laws who could also face time in prison.

Read more
Share

Sydney Criminal Lawyers: Over 230 Civil Society Groups Condemn NSW Government’s Anti-Protest Regime

More than 230 civil society organisations have joined together to condemn the sentencing of local climate defender Violet Coco in an effort coordinated by Counteract, Wage Peace and other grassroots activists, a diverse coalition of organisations have made known, via an open letter, that they not only condemn Coco’s prison sentence, but further the Perrottet government’s anti-protest regime, which led to this dramatic escalation in punishing nonviolent climate protest.

The signatories include the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW, the Human Rights Law Centre, the Maritime Union of Australia, the National Justice Project, Amnesty, Liberty Victoria, Extinction Rebellion, Pride in Protest and Free Gaza Australia.

Read more
Share

Echo: Climate activist Violet Coco released on bail

Violet Coco was sentenced to 15 months in jail with an eight-month non-parole period for stopping a lane of traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in April this year for 25 minutes. She was refused bail pending her appeal to be heard in March 2023 by Magistrate Hawkins on 2 December. The sentence has been labeled as ‘disproportionate’ by human rights advocates and condemned by civil rights groups and unions, The Echo reports. 

Yesterday the refusal of bail decision was overturned by Judge T Gartellman and Violet was released from jail on a good behaviour bond, $10,000 bail and a series of other conditions including weekly reporting to police, and no entering greater metro Sydney except for court

Read more
Share

Green Left: Violet CoCo released from Silverwater, but charges remain

Judge Timothy Gartelmann rejected the Crown’s arguments on December 13 and released climate activist Violet CoCo, on bail, pending her appeal on March 2, 2023.

CoCo has been held in Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre for 11 days.

Read more
Share

Media Statement: Millions say no to jailing of peaceful climate activists

More than 200 organisations, including, CIVICUS, UnionsNSW, Australian Conservation Foundation and Oxfam, as well as prominent individuals representing millions of people across the country have united to condemn the recent 15-month jail sentence for climate activist Deanna ‘Violet’ Coco in NSW and to express concern about increasing repression, including the recent introduction of new anti protest laws in multiple states.

Read more
Share

NSWCCL: Position Statement Facial Recognition Technology

NSWCCL believes facial recognition technology presents a unique and wide-ranging threat to cherished values of privacy and autonomy. The possibility of ubiquitous intrusive surveillance is fast becoming a reality without necessary public discussion and legal guardrails.

NSWCCL therefore welcomes the Facial Recognition Model Law Report produced by the Human Technology Institute at University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and joins the Report’s call for:

  • the Attorney-General to introduce a bill into the Australian Parliament, based on the FRT Model Law;
  • the Attorney-General to assign regulatory responsibility to a suitable regulator and empower that body to create facial recognition standards
  • the Attorney-General to initiate a process with his state and territory counterparts to ensure that the law on FRT is harmonised across all Australian jurisdictions
  • the Attorney-General to establish an Australian Government taskforce on facial recognition to ensure development and use of the technology accords with ethical and legal standards
Read more
Share

The Saturday Paper: The sentencing of climate activist Violet CoCo

Deanna “Violet” CoCo knew her fate. In March this year, the 32-year-old climate activist gave an interview about her work with the group Fireproof Australia. In an interview, she seemed to predict the 15-month jail sentence she would be handed for a 28-minute protest.

“There is a lot of power in our system that is governed by capital, and specifically in the fossil fuel industry. And that capital, you know, influences our politicians,” she said.

“I expect that there is no possible way to win without that power trying to repress us. You know, I am expecting that and I’m expecting it to get a lot worse before it gets better.”

Read more
Share

Danny Lim using walking sticks after arrest by NSW police

Sydney street personality Danny Lim says he is “not OK” and is still using walking sticks to get around after being thrown to the ground during a “discontinued” arrest by New South Wales police officers two weeks ago, The Guardian's Tamsin Rose reports. 

Speaking to Guardian Australia from his home where he is recovering after being released from St Vincent’s hospital, Lim said he had been “up and down like a yo-yo” after suffering a bleed on the brain and neck injuries.

Read more
Share

SMH: ‘Nobody is above the law’: Minister stands by anti-protest laws that sent niece to jail

NSW government minister Alister Henskens has stood by the state’s anti-protest laws that sent his own niece, Deanna Coco, to prison for up to 15 months, declaring “nobody is above the law”.

Henskens, the Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, voted for legislation in March that made obstructing roads or transport routes an offence carrying up to two years’ imprisonment, SMH's Michael Koziol reports. 

Read more
Share

WSWS: Climate change protester jailed for 15 months in Australia

Last Friday, a young woman who briefly blocked one lane of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in a protest over governments’ refusal to halt climate change was jailed for 15 months and then denied bail for an appeal, WSWS's Mike Head reports. 

NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Josh Pallas condemned the ruling, pointing out: “Peaceful protest sometimes involves inconvenience to the public. But inconvenience is not a sufficient reason to prohibit it.”

Read more
Share