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Oversight of Police critical incidents

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties expresses its disappointment with the report on Oversight of Police Critical Incidents by the former Commonwealth Attorney-General Robert McClelland, which was released on 22 January.

That report not only rejected the calls for reform of the current investigative process, which involves police investigating police, but makes recommendations which have the potential to undermine the two regulatory bodies set up following the Wood Royal Commission to protect the public-- the Police Integrity Commission and the NSW Ombudsman.

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Submission: NSW Ombudsman's review of the use of the consorting provisions by the NSW Police Force - Division 7 Part 3A of the Crimes Act 1900

NSWCCL has made a submission to the  NSW Ombudsman's review of the use of the consorting provisions by the NSW Police Force - Division 7 Part 3A of the Crimes Act 1900 - November 2013.

The current NSW consorting laws impinge on human rights to a degree that far exceeds any benefit that may be obtained from them. The NSW Ombudsman is currently reviewing the police use of these laws, these laws should be repealed and/or radically amended.

Read our full submission

 

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

NSWCCL has made as submission to the Senate Inquiry on the Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013.

We make the same comments on proposed section 474.40(2) as we did on the corresponding section in the previous version of the Bill. As argued previously, intending to commit a crime is not itself a crime, and should not be made a crime. If crimes have occurred, they are what a person should be charged with. If they haven't, a person should not be charged for what he or she merely has in mind as a plan.

NSWCCL recommends that this Bill should be rejected.

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Mandatory sentencing for “one-punch” assaults causing death with drug and alcohol related factors

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties opposes the NSW Government’s proposal for mandatory sentencing for “one-punch” assault causing death with drug and alcohol related factors.

The proposed new laws will mean that persons found guilty of drug and alcohol fuelled “one-punch” assaults causing death will be subjected to a mandatory minimum sentence of 8 years in jail with a maximum of 25 years.  Mandatory sentences for “one-punch” assaults have already been enacted in West Australia and the Northern Territory.  

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Submission: Inquiry into the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Above the Line Voting) Bill 2013

NSWCCL has called for major reform of the Senate electoral system to ensure Senators are only elected if they have enough voter support and not due to inter-party preference deals. 

We made a submission to a parliamentary inquiry calling for the introduction of optional preferential voting in Senate elections and abolishing inter-party preference deals. This would mean that voters could vote for as many or few Senate parties and candidates as they wished and their preferences would be counted exactly as the voter indicated on the ballot instead of following an inter-party preference deal.

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October-November 2013 newsletter

In this edition: President's message; AGM and Annual Dinner review; 'vexatious' charges against CSG protestors; Bill watch including Zoe's Law, and much more! Available online now.

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Joint CCL's call for Attorney General to consult on racial vilification amendments

The Attorney General George Brandis has flagged his intention of repealing/amending s18c of the Racial Discrimination Act to better protect free speech.

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NSWCCL asks for explanation for 'vexatious' charges against CSG protestors

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties has written to the Commissioner of Police and Minister for Police asking for an explanation for issuing a ‘trivial’, ‘weak’ and ‘vexatious’ charge against CSG demonstrators, and for assurance that no political purpose or pressure was involved. CCL has also asked the Ombudsman to investigate.

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NSWCCL urges Premier and NSW Parliament to defer or amend Bill extending police 'arrest without warrant' powers

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties today wrote to the NSW Premier, Minister for Police and Attorney General urging the deferral and amendment of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Amendment (Arrest Without Warrant) Bill 2013. A copy of the letter was also sent to all NSW MPs.

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2013 NSWCCL Annual Dinner (50th Anniversary)

The NSWCCL dinner in the Sky Phoenix Restaurant in the Pitt St Westfield Plaza was a grand celebration of our 50th anniversary. There was a splendid turnout of old and new members and friends of NSWCCL and of our key note speaker. We also had several tables of interested students and interns sponsored by member donations.

The formalities of the evening were, understandably, more focused on NSWCCL’s history than usual. Michael Kirby, a member since 1964 and now an honorary life member, spoke movingly via video of his personal experience as a young lawyer working with NSWCCL and, more broadly, of the beneficial impact on the legal profession in Australia from the large numbers of lawyers who had cut their teeth in civil liberties and then gone on to occupy high office on the bench or as solicitors and barrister within the profession. Michael also paid tribute to significant NSWCCL figures who had deeply influenced him over the years. His lifelong engagement with NSWCCL was encapsulated in his final observation that he had now spoken at the 30
th, 40th and 50th anniversary dinners.

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AGM 2013

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties held its AGM on Wednesday 23 October 2013, and a number of significant decisions were made:

  • A new executive and committee were elected, following a very strong field of nominations, requiring a ballot in key positions.
  • Life membership was conferred on our longest serviing President, Cameron Murphy.
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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.

Click here for the submission

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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)."

Click here for the submission

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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

Click here for the submission

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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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