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Significant decisions at the 50th Anniversary AGM

A well attended Annual General Meeting elected new executive and committee; endorsed strong policies on global surveillance, whistle-blowers and asylum seekers and conferred honorary life membership on Cameron Murphy.

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Submission: Review into Police Oversight of Critical Incidents

NSWCCL has made a submission to the review into police oversight of critical incidents, being conducted by the Hon Robert McLelland.

The NSWCCL believes that the establishment of an independent body to oversee investigations into critical incidents involving police is paramount. The European Court of Human Rights has enunciated five key principles of effective investigation: independence, adequacy, promptness, sufficient public scrutiny and next-of-kin involvement. The NSWCCL believes that this Review should recommend the adoption of these principles in the final model.

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NSWCCL urges NSW Parliament to reject Zoe's Law No. 2

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties has written to all NSW State MPs, urging them to heed to widespread concerns of civil society and reject the Crimes Amendment (Zoe's Law) Bill (No. 2) 2013.

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August-September 2013 Newsletter

In this edition: Post election civil liberties musings - implications and thoughts; NSWCCL opposes Zoe's Law; NO! to warrantless surveillance; NSW Surveillance Devices Act Review; Web update; Work experience at NSWCCL; and Annual Dinner, AGM and committee nominations. Click through to view.

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Submission: Review of the Surveillance Devices Act 2007

NSWCCL has made a submission to the NSW Department of Attorney-General and Justice on the Statutory Review of the Surveillance Devices Act 2007.

"Given the high incidence of surveillance resulting in no ‘relevant information,’ the Council for Civil Liberties is of the view that the Attorney-General should recommend to Parliament that s.52 be amended. The Council recommends that the Act be amended so that issuing authorities can prospectively require a law enforcement agency to report to targets about the use of past surveillance where: (a) no information relevant to a prosecution is found; and (b) it is the second attempt against the same target that has resulted in no information useful to a prosecution being gathered (whether the warrant was issued in respect of the same or a different offence)."

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Submission: Telecommunications Amendment (Get a Warrant) Bill 2013

NSWCCL has made a submission to Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on the inquiry into the Telecommunications Amendment (Get a Warrant) Bill 2013.

"It has never been more important that lawful surveillance and intrusions upon privacy, which a democratic nation determines to be necessary and proportionate for its security, are subject to strong independent oversight, accountability and maximum transparency.

The amendments proposed in this Bill, if enacted, will provide a significant strengthening of these protections."

  • The NSWCCL strongly supports the purpose of the Bill as set out in the explanatory memorandum
  • NSWCCL supports the proposed amendments to the TIA Act in the Bill
  • NSWCCL supports a more comprehensive review and amendment of the TIA Act

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PNG 'solution' contrary to Australia's international obligations

The NSWCCL firmly opposes the Labor government’s PNG regional re-settlement agreement.

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July 2013 newsletter

In this edition: NSWCCL 50th Anniversary Dinner reminder; Web update; National ASIO Campaign: summary of the recent Politics in the Pub - ASIO's Absurd Powers; Asylum seekers: Australia's deepening shame; NSW Law Alert: 'Out of Control' events; Overview of our submission on the supply of alcohol to minors; Occupy Sydney: the right to protest

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Spreading 'out of control' parties legislation is unnecessary and disproportionate

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties is concerned by the apparent spread of Western Australian legislation aimed at organisers of "out of control" gatherings. The Queensland Government is currently drafting similar legislation that includes imprisonment and significant fines for organisers, including parents of children whose parties become uncontrollable.

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Push for further restrictions on prisoners' right to vote

The NSWCCL opposes the Coalition's policy to widen the disenfranchisement of prisoners by banning those imprisoned for between 1 and 3 years from voting. 

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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.

Click here for the submission

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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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