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NSW Greens voice their concerns over recent police actions

The NSW Greens have written to the NSW Police Minister, Police Commissioner and Attorney General to voice great concern about the recent activities of NSW Police. It has been report over the last week, over 40 people across Australia have been visited, searched or questioned by police in relation to protests around the IMARC Conference in Sydney.  

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NSW Police Escalate Pre-Protest Visits to Indimidate Activists

When three NSW police officers turned up unannounced at rights activist Seth Dias’ home on 26 October to drill him about whether he’d be attending a protest this week, they made “explicitly clear” that they’d switched on their body cams before asking a list of questions, Paul Gregoire writes. 

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2022 Annual Dinner and Excellence in Civil Liberties Journalism Awards

We thank Councillor Yvonne Weldon for taking the time to attend our dinner to Welcome us on behalf of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council. It was an honour to have Cl Weldon join us on Gadigal Country and invite us to work with the local Aboriginal community in the important work that is do be done to bring about positive change through truth telling and a First Nations Voice to Parliament.

We also thank Senator The Hon. Jenny McAllister for attending our dinner and introducing Mr Mayor.  Senator McAllister has been a long time friend of NSWCCL and constant defender of human rights and civil liberties.

This year our committee decided that the Council should use our Annual Dinner as a platform to publicly endorse both the Uluru Statement from the Heart and a YES vote in the upcoming referendum enshrining a First Nations voice to the Parliament.

What better way to do this than invite Thomas Mayor, Torres Strait Islander man born in Garramilla (Darwin) and a passionate advocate for the Uluru Statement to deliver our keynote.

Mr Mayor said “I know I’m among friends here tonight. I invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.”

Forged from more than two centuries of hardship and struggle, the Uluru Statement gives hope to a nation born from many nations, that we may find our collective heart.

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NSWCCL adds our voice to reject a proposed amendment to fisheries law

NSWCCL adds our voice to the call on the NSW Parliament to reject a proposed amendment to fisheries law, declaring it an attack on Aboriginal people’s fundamental human right to practice their culture and fish in accordance with their law and custom.

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NSWCCL: Calls on NSW Police to cease the intimidation of activists

NSWCCL understands that in a disturbing NSW Police operation over recent days, activists from a range of groups and networks have received unannounced visits by police to their homes. These visits have been occuring in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. People have been questioned about whether they plan on attending any protests connected with the International Minerals and Resources Conference scheduled to be held in Sydney over 2-4 November. The purpose of these visits, it appears, is to pressure people against participating in peaceful protest.

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NSWCCL condemns NSW decision to refuse access to the visiting United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture

The President of the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, Josh Pallas, today condemned the actions by prison officers at a Queanbeyan facility that prevented the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment from making an unannounced visit to the facility. 

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Submission: National Anti-Corruption Commission Bills 2022

Update: The advisory report on the provisions of the National Anti-Corruption Commission Bill 2022 and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2022 was published on Thursday of last week. Read our statement here.

Read our submission to the inquiry here.
Read the final report from the inquiry here.

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the National Anti-Corruption Commission Legislation Committee's inquiry into the provisions of the National Anti-Corruption Commission Bill 2022 and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2022, which seek to establish the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

NSWCCL has long advocated for the urgent need for a strong national anti-corruption body and has engaged with the various proposals for such a body over the last decade. In doing so we have built on our close observation of the NSW ICAC and engagement with numbers of reviews of that body; as well as various proposals for a national-anti-corruption body over the last decade.

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City Hub: NSW Labor sticks to supporting harsh anti-protest laws

NSW Labor maintained its support for harsh NSW anti-protest laws at its state conference last weekend, disappointing a broad coalition of civil liberties and environmental groups.

A motion by the Australian Services Union to scrap the laws was defeated by a majority of conference delegates. If it had passed, Labor would have taken a policy to repeal the laws to the state election in March 2023.

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Greens criticise facial recognition plan for all NSW pubs and clubs

A plan to roll out facial recognition technology in every pub and club in New South Wales has been criticised by the Greens, who say the “invasive” measure is an attempt to avoid further crackdowns on poker machines.

The Australian Hotels Association NSW and ClubsNSW say they are developing a state-of-the-art system to be rolled out across all clubs and hotels next year to keep people who have self-imposed bans away from poker machines.

Everyone in the gaming area will have their face scanned and the images will be cross-checked with people who have signed up for the self-exclusion system. 

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Submission: Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Climate Trigger) Bill 2022

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) is grateful for the opportunity to make a submission to the Committee's Inquiry into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Climate Trigger) Bill 2022 [No.2].

  1. NSWCCL supports laws that strengthen Australia’s mitigation efforts as a crucial step towards protecting human rights from the impacts of climate change.
  2. We believe the Bill fills an important gap in Australia’s climate change framework which currently leaves the Commonwealth unable to properly manage the development of emissions intensive activities. By giving the Minister the power to ensure further development of such activities occurs in line with a carbon budget, the Bill provides a way towards ensuring Australia’s newly legislated emissions target is achievable.
  3. While we welcome the Bill as an improvement on the current state of affairs, this submission contains six recommendations which we believe will further its aims.
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Media Statement: NSW Labor fails key test to support the right to protest

On 16 October 2022, a motion was put to the floor of the Labor Conference by the Australian Services Union which called for the Labor party to ‘scrap the NSW government’s anti-protest laws if they win government next year.

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The use of facial recognition by law enforcement in NSW requires urgent review

It is troubling that the NSW Police Minister, Paul Toole has not ruled out expanding the use of facial recognition technology currently deployed by NSW Police to include the practice of predictive policing. In a recent NSW Parliament budget estimates hearing Minister Toole said “The NSW Police Force continually reviews new technology to assist police in their role, and will consider expanding the use of technology, as required”.

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Perth Now: Privacy fears over American data swap deal

There are serious fears the privacy of everyday Australians could be in jeopardy under a data-sharing deal with the United States.

An intelligence treaty between the two nations will soon allow law enforcement agencies to share information. The agreement will give officers rapid access to US-hosted data to fight terrorism, child exploitation and human trafficking.

But NSW Council for Civil Liberties President, Josh Pallas said the agreement would gravely undermine privacy.

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Climate-impacted Knitting Nannas launch Constitutional challenge to new NSW anti-protest laws

Today, two women from the flood and fire-impacted NSW mid-north coast launched a Constitutional challenge to new anti-protest laws to preserve the democratic freedoms of speech and assembly in NSW.  Represented by the Environmental Defenders Office, the Constitutional challenge has been filed in the NSW Supreme Court.

Dominique and Helen, the two wildlife carers and members of the "Knitting Nannas" group at the centre of this case will ask the Supreme Court to declare new sections of the Crimes Act 1900 unconstitutional as they impermissibly burden the implied freedom of political communication of the NSW community. Both Dominique and Helen have been at the frontline of Australian climate impacts, experiencing the devastation, trauma and loss from drought, fires and floods in the last four years alone. 

For more information, read the full article.

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Green Left: Tell Labor to commit to repeal the anti-protest laws

Pressure continues to build on the NSW Labor Parliamentary team in the lead up to NSW Labor Conforence this weekend. Some of the greatest gains in history have been delivered through large-scale protest movements which would not be lawful under the current NSW Government anti-protest laws; the decriminalisation of homosexuality, women’s right to vote and many others. This, no doubt, is weighing heavily on the minds of many community minded Labor MPs who have actively participated in protest actions over recents years.

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Sydney Criminal Lawyers: NSW Labor Considers Revoking Draconian Anti-Protest Laws

NSWCCL President, Josh Pallas, spoke to journalist Paul Gregoire in the lead up to the NSW Labor State Conference about the campaign to overturn the draconian anti-protest laws currently in place in New South Wales.

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Submission: Inquiry into the 2022 federal election

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) welcomes the opportunity to be involved in the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters’ Inquiry into the 2022 federal election and related matters.

Australia has a long legacy for being a strong democracy since colonisation, but reform is needed to ensure that this trajectory is maintained.

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Submission: United Nations Committee against Torture

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) in regard to the Sixth Periodic Report of Australia.

Under Article 19 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Convention) the CAT is mandated to examine reports on the measures that State parties are taking to implement the provisions of the Convention. The CAT has a dual mandate:

  1. To undertake confidential inquiries when reliable information is received with well-
    founded indication that torture is being systemically practiced in a State party is received
    (Article 20, the Convention).
  2. To consider individual complaints in relation to the implementation of the Convention
    (Article 22, the Convention).
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A special address by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Lowy Institue welcomes you to join them for a special address by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

President Zelenskyy will address the Lowy Institute from Ukraine via live video link. Afterwards, he will speak in conversation with Executive Director Michael Fulliloveand take audience questions.

The address is available to watch online via Youtube on Thursday 6 October at 7:00pm AEDT.

Link: Online video via YouTube

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Submission: United Nations Sub-Committee on the Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT)

The UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) will be visiting Australia for 12 days from 16 Oct 2022 – 27 Oct 2022.

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