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June 2013 newsletter

In this edition: NSWCCL 50th Anniversary Dinner; Australia's asylum seeker policy morass: the excision of the Australian mainland; Update on the National ASIO Campaign; No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka documentary screening; The 'never-ending' growth of global surveillance

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May 2013 newsletter

The first edition of our newsletter is out now!

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Submission: Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013

NSWCCL has made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee concerning the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013.

"Both world-wide historically and in Australia in recent times there has been much discrimination and worse against LGBTI people.1 Unlike, say religious or political views, people cannot change such characteristics (and if they could, they should not be expected to). Though some protection is provided by State and Territory legislation, the provisions vary between these jurisdictions, and their coverage is restricted. The bill will contribute to an improvement in LGBTI persons' situation. We urge its speedy passage--as an important measure until a revised Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill is introduced."

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Key national security reports released

A number of reports have been released recently that are key for the ongoing activities of the National ASIO Campaign.

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Supplementary Submission: Inquiry into Racial Vilification Law in NSW

NSWCCL recently appeared before the New South Wales Legislative Council Standing Committee on Law and Justice to give evidence relating to the inquiry into racial vilification law in NSW.

A supplementary submission has been made in response to questions posed during the committee hearing, providing more detailed discussion than possible at the hearing.

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Submission: Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013

NSWCCL has made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee concerning the Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013.

"the proposals in the bill have the potential to impact greatly on many Australians, young and old alike, who do not necessarily possess any criminal intent, without providing sufficient nexus to the more serious offences the bill aims to prevent."

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Submission: Federal Court Fee increases since 2010

NSWCCL has made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee concerning the impact of Federal Court Fee increases since 2010 on access to justice in Australia.

"The ability to access the courts is a civil right. It is essential that persons can access the courts to ensure that they are able to exercise their freedoms and liberties and enforce their rights and others’ obligations.

All persons must, as a matter of their civil rights, have the capacity to access the Federal Court regardless of their financial situation or other means. In addition, the fees associated with accessing the Federal Court must not act as a material detriment to their accessing the court if they judge that doing so is an appropriate course of action."

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NSWCCL gives evidence at inquiry into NSW racial vilification laws

As reported by ABC news, members of NSWCCL recently appeared before the New South Wales Legislative Council Standing Committee on Law and Justice to give evidence relating to the inquiry into racial vilification law in NSW.

Secretary Stephen Blanks called for reform of the laws, stating that the bar for prosecutions has been set too high, as shown by the absence of any prosecutions.

NSWCCL believes that the sections under review have failed to legitimately criminalise serious racial vilification. Further, it is possible to reform the legislation to be more effective, whilst also maintaining the right to free speech.

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Submission: Inquiry into NSW racial vilification laws

NSWCCL has made a submission to the Legislative Council Standing Committee's inquiry into Racial vilification law in NSW. 

Secretary Stephen Blanks called for reform of the laws, stating that the bar for prosecutions has been set too high, as shown by the absence of any prosecutions.

NSWCCL believes that the sections under review have failed to legitimately criminalise serious racial vilification. Further, it is possible to reform the legislation to be more effective, whilst also maintaining the right to free speech.

Click here for the submission

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Submission: Human Tissue Amendment (Trafficking in Human Organs) Bill

NSWCCL has made a submission to Greens MPs in relation to their invitation to comment on the draft Human Tissue Amendment (Trafficking in Human Organs) Bill and the accompanying discussion paper.

"We have considered the clauses carefully. We cannot support the proposed legislation.

...CCL holds therefore that legislation which is to operate extra-jurisdictionally outside Australia should be confined to matters where the United Nations has mandated such extrajurisdictional operation in an international treaty."

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Submission: Review of the Summary Offences Act 1988 (police move-on powers)

NSWCCL has made a submission to the NSW Ombudsman concerning their review of the Summary Offences Act 1988 Section 9: Continuation of intoxicated and disorderly behaviour following a move on direction.

The submission expresses concerns regarding the loose definition of 'disorderly' conduct, and the subsequent high degree of discretion granted to police in determining whether behaviour is disorderly.

"In the view of the NSW CCL, behaviour can only be considered 'disorderly' if it disrupts the order of the environment for other people at the time the behaviour takes place or some in the future - behaviour can only be considered 'disorderly' in respect of its impact on other people. It makes no sense for behaviour to be considered disorderly if there is no disorder created for one or more other persons."

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Submission: Inquiry into the use of cannabis for medical purposes

NSWCCL has made a submission to the NSW Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee no. 4's inquiry into the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

"The NSW Council for Civil Liberties considers that drug use should be addressed as a health issue, not a legal issue.

The use of cannabis for medical purposes should be decriminalised to allow its use if medically qualified people consider that it has health benefits.

The Committee should recommend that a trial of medical cannabis be commenced as soon as practicable."

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Submission: Inquiry into the Exposure Draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012

NSWCCL has made a submission to the inquiry into the Exposure Draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012

NSWCCL supports Australia’s continuing commitment to international human rights instruments, and regards the consolidation of legislation within this Bill as an attempt to meet such obligations.

NSWCCL notes that the operation of the legislation will allow exceptions within areas such as social security, migration and marriage policy. Discrimination in these areas is as arbitrary as anywhere else. NSWCCL opposes these exceptions.

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Submission: Inquiry into the Migration and Security Legislation Amendment (Review of Security Assessments) Bill 2012

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties has lodged with the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee a submission vehemently opposing the Migration Amendment (Unauthorised Maritime Arrivals and Other Measures) Bill.

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NSWCCL vehemently opposes excising Australia from the Migration Zone

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties has lodged with the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee a submission vehemently opposing the Migration Amendment (Unauthorised Maritime Arrivals and Other Measures) Bill.

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State government misses historic opportunity to repeal 'dangerous' bail laws

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties today labelled the State Government response to the Law Reform Commission report on bail a “major disappointment”.

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Annual John Marsden Memorial Lecture 2012

The times they are a-changing: where to for the criminal law in NSW? Nicholas Cowdery - AM QC BA LLB FAAL spoke at the John Marsden Memorial Lecture.

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2012 Annual Dinner

Over 350 people gathered in the CBD Sky Phoenix Restaurant on Friday 19 October 2012 to support the NSWCCL Annual Dinner.

Professor George Williams AO tonight launched a national campaign led by the NSW Council for Civil Liberties to wind back the excessive and disproportionate powers given to ASIO in the decade since 9/11. "The greatest assault on civil liberties in Australia since World War II."

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Submission: Data retention and certificates of immunity for ASIO officers and their contacts

NSWCCL has made a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) regarding data retention and certificates of immunity for ASIO officers and their contacts

In this submission, NSWCCL addresses the following points:

  1. Opposing blanket data retention of all Australian's telecommunications metadata
  2. Response to police submissions concerning possible seeking of additional powers
  3. Opposing the proposal that ASIO officers be granted certificates of immunity from civil and criminal liability

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Free speech and the politics of hate

Over 350 people gathered in the CBD Sky Phoenix Restaurant on Friday 19 October 2012 to support the NSWCCL Annual Dinner. David Marr, delivered the keynote address on Free Speech and the Politics of Hate.

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