Submission: Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee in regard to the Migration Amendment (Evacuation to Safety) Bill 2023.
Update: 9 March 2023 Yesterday Labor the Australian Labor Party joined with the Liberals to vote against the Greens' legislation to evacuate refugees and people seeking asylum from Nauru and PNG to safety in Australia. This is a devastating blow for the 150 people still trapped in limbo. NSWCCL condemn the Labor Party for betraying refugees and people seeking asylum.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties, civil society and human rights organisations welcome the introduction of the Migration Amendment Evacuation to Safety Bill 2023 in the Senate. This Bill is required to urgently resolve the situation of those refugees and asylum seekers still living in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Australian asylum seeker policy is a gross breach of human rights and decency. It is inconsistent with its obligations under international law.
The Bill offers the chance to reform the law to bring Australia’s immigration policies in line with our international obligations under the Refugee Convention, by bringing all refugees and people seeking asylum to Australia while determinations are made about durable solutions.Read more
NSWCCL Statement: UN torture prevention body terminates visit to Australia
The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) has been forced to terminate its suspended visit to Australia signalling to the international community that Australia is shamefully failing in its obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Torture (OPCAT). The NSW Council for Civil Liberties call on all Australian governments to prioritise the implementation of the OPCAT and to meet our obligations to the people held in detention.
In compliance with obligations under the OPCAT, Australia must execute two simple functions for the establishment of the principles of the OPCAT into law. First, to set up, designate and maintain a network of Commonwealth, state and territory inspectorates (each referred to as NPM Bodies) responsible for inspecting and making recommendations about places of detention within their jurisdiction. Second, to facilitate visits to Australia, including to places of detention under Australia's jurisdiction and control, by the SPT. NSW has yet to nominate an NPM Coordinator or implement the OPCAT into law.Read more
NSWCCL welcomes the move to grant permanent residency for refugees
On February 13 the Albanese Government announced that it would end the cruel and unnecessary policy of temporary protection. This means that those who already have a Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) or Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) will be able to apply for a permanent Resolution of Status (RoS) Visa.
This is wonderful news for the thousands of people who have been living in limbo on these cruel and inhumane visas for over a decade. Those granted a new visa will have the same rights and benefits as all other permanent residents, and will be immediately eligible for social security payments, access to the NDIS and higher education assistance. People on TPVs and SHEVs have been living and working in our community, paying taxes, creating employment and strengthening our economy for years.
Privacy Act Review Report Released
The Privacy Act Review Report was released on 16 February 2023. NSWCCL was pleased to see that many of the recommendations the Council made in our submission were supported by the review.
A key recommendation in our submission which was adopted by the review is ensuring the collection of, use and disclosure of personal information is fair and reasonable, including whether the “impact on privacy is proportionate to the benefit”. The Council supports the inclusion of non-exhaustive legislated factors that are relevant to determining whether the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. However, it considers that clear guidance and examples of how these factors may apply in practice must be provided.Read more
InnovationAus: What’s your vector, Victor? Canberra’s tangled web awaits
Dr Lesley Seebeck writes - We all know that the Australian government needs considerable work to bring it up to date with the systems and services – and user experience – we’ve come to expect from the major digital platforms.
Political support for innovation in Canberra is a timid and fickle beast. IT development and delivery rarely goes to plan, is an attractive cash cow for the legion of vendors, consultants and contractor, and a ready target for political attacks, worthy or otherwise.
Yet ministers seem convinced that resolving the ongoing issues and from their perspective performance of the public service is simply a matter getting the right bloke in – or, depending on who has a parliamentary pass – the right consultancy or vendor.
Read more here.
Guardian: NSW police criticised for ‘outrageous’ midnight arrest of student who protested at RBA
Michael McGowan reports that the New South Wales police have been criticised for a “heavy-handed” midnight arrest and detention of a university student over a protest.
Cherish Kuehlmann, 23, a student at the University of New South Wales, said she was woken up at about 12.30am on Saturday to the sound of “four or five” police officers “banging loudly” on the door of her unit in Eastlakes in Sydney’s inner south-east.Read more
Over 70% of NSW Police records of use of force contained inaccuracies, review reveals
In a review by the NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission, it was found that over 70% of the NSW Police Force records regarding the use of force that were reviewed had at least one inaccuracy despite supervsing officers checking those records, NIT's Giovanni Torre reports.
The report urged the NSW Police Force improve the training and instructions given to officers about how to record use-of-force.Read more
City Hub: Inner West Labor votes down call for repeal of anti-protest laws
Journalist Wendy Bacon reports that Inner West Labor has used their narrow majority to defeat a motion calling for repeal of NSW’s draconian anti-protest laws at the Inner West Council (IWC) meeting last week.
Inner West Councillor and Greens candidate for Balmain Kobi Shetty moved a motion calling for the Mayor Darcy Byrne to write to the Attorney General and Shadow Attorney General calling for the repeal of the laws and an end to heavy handed policing of protestors.Read more
Peter Hughes: No basis for temporary protection visa scare mongering
Opening up access to permanent residence for long stay refugees on temporary visas is right and inevitable. The decision will not set off a major new surge of maritime asylum seekers. The Coalition and their supporters have selective memories. Temporary protection visas were never a deterrent anyway.
The government’s decision to allow access to permanent residence to some 19,000 people who arrived by sea in Australia over a decade ago, who have been found to be refugees, and who are locked in a theoretically endless cycle of three or five year temporary visas, is the right thing to do.Read more
SMH: ‘Deeply shocking’: Iranian protester hospitalised after arrest in Canberra
An Iranian-Australian human rights protester who has been hospitalised with serious injuries claims an Australian Federal Police officer assaulted him while peacefully protesting outside the Iranian embassy in Canberra.
Hamid Sotounzadeh was handcuffed and detained by police while protesting outside the embassy on Thursday morning and was found lying concussed by fellow protesters.Read more
The Guardian: NSW woman to receive $18,000 after police looking into suspected Covid protest trespassed on property
The New South Wales government has been ordered to pay out more than $18,000 after two police officers climbed a locked gate and trespassed on a northern rivers property owned by a woman they suspected was organising a protest in breach of Covid laws, the Guardian's Tasmin Rose reports.
The NSW supreme court justice Robertson Wright found that the senior constables had violated the privacy of property owner Sanchia Romani, awarding her $18,334.69 in damages over the trespass.
Josh Pallas, president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, said the choice by officers to enter the property despite the signage “either demonstrates poor judgment” or “systemic failure on the part of NSW police” to teach officers about the law.Read more
PinkNews: Protest outside funeral of homophobic cardinal George Pell to go ahead despite police intervention
LGBTQ+ activists in Sydney, Australia will be allowed to protest outside the funeral of homophobic cardinal and convicted sex offender George Pell, following attempts by police to block their march, PinkNews' Joe Ali reports.
NSW police sought to obtain a court order which would have stopped protestors from gathering, citing section 25 of the state’s Summary Offences Act, but have since announced it will not attempt to stop LGBTQ+ campaigners.Read more
ABC News: Cardinal George Pell protest to take place at same time as Sydney funeral after compromise
A dispute between NSW Police and LGBT activists over a rally coinciding with Cardinal George Pell's Sydney funeral has been resolved after the route of a peaceful march was altered, ABC's Jamie McKinnell reports.
The group Community Action for Rainbow Rights (CARR), planned to hold a march from Hyde Park alongside St Mary's Cathedral on Thursday morning which prompted NSW Police to apply to the state's supreme court for an order to prohibit the event due to 'public safety concerns'.
After discussion, Mr De Brennan, who was representing NSW Police, told the judge an "in principle agreement" for an alternative route had been reached, which went "up to College Street but not on it".Read more
The Latch: “Pell Go to Hell”: Cardinal to Be Buried in Sydney But Protestors Won’t Let Him Go Quietly
The late Cardinal, George Pell, Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic and one of the most powerful people in the Church, is set to be sent off into the great beyond on Thursday. This will be his second funeral, after the one he already had in the Vatican, presided over by Pope Francis, the Latch's Jack Revell reports.
The Community Action for Rainbow Rights (CARR), is organising a “Pell Go to Hell” march to be held at the same time as his requiem mass on Thursday.
NSW Police sought a court order to prevent the protest from taking place, citing “safety concerns,” however they have since said that a compromise has been reached with the protesters. CARR’s march will now walk to College Street but not up it.Read more
The Guardian: Protest outside George Pell’s funeral to go ahead after police back away from attempted ban
NSW police have backed away from an attempt to ban an LGBTQ+ campaign group from marching on the street outside George Pell’s funeral, ahead of the cardinal’s service at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday, The Guardian's Rafqa Touma reports.
Instead, an “alternative route has been agreed,” barrister Sebastian De Brennan confirmed to the supreme court on Wednesday afternoon.
In a statement, the president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Josh Pallas, said the NSW police court order was “not a genuine attempt to preserve public safety”.Read more
Media Statement - Planned peaceful protest disrupted by NSW Police
“The application in the Supreme Court today to have the Community Action for Rainbow Rights (CARR) planned protest on Thursday declared unlawful by NSW Police is not a genuine attempt to preserve public safety. It’s motivated by a desire to prevent the memorial service following the death of Cardinal Pell being affected by protest activity. In reality, this is a case of the NSW police trying to do tone-policing,” Josh Pallas, NSWCCL President, stated.Read more
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
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
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
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