Independent MP Andrew Wilkie on Ending Mandatory Detention
The staggered release of the Medevac refugees from long-term detention in hotels scattered across the nation, which began in December 2020 and came to a close right before this year’s election, brought a lengthy campaign to see them out to an end, Paul Gregoire reports.
But as federal Independent MP Andrew Wilkie points out, this recent victory and others like it, such as the government finally agreeing to New Zealand’s offer to take in hundreds of refugees currently in Australia, haven’t marked the end of the brutal Sovereign Borders regime.Read more
Submission: Climate Change Bill 2022 and the Climate Change (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2022
NSWCCL recently made a submission to the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee regarding the Climate Change Bill 2022 and the Climate Change (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2022.
After a decade of inaction on climate change, the Climate Change Bill 2022 (Bill) represents welcome
progress. While we support the Bill as an improvement on business as usual, it is our view that:
- the target it enshrines in law is woefully inadequate; and
- beyond setting a target, the Bill fails to do any work towards achieving that target.
This said, through a few amendments the Bill has potential to provide a proper bedrock for Australia’s
ability to respond to the climate emergency and contribute towards the goals of the Paris Agreement.
NSW Police Claim Ignorance of the Law, As They Continue to Illegally Strip-Search Kids
More than 4,000 strip searches were carried out in New South Wales between July 2020 and May 2022 with data recently released under freedom of information laws revealing that of the strip searches conducted in that period, more than 100 children were searched, including a 13-year-old, Sydney Criminal Lawyers reports.
A major concern is that police have ‘targets’ in relation to strip searches, which in itself could potentially lead officers to feel under pressure to overlook their legal responsibility – which states that they must have a ‘reasonable suspicion’ in order to conduct a strip search – in favour of ‘meeting quotas’.Read more
Australia tightens its national sexual assault laws
Australian state governments are tightening the laws surrounding sexual assault, introducing affirmative consent and the criminalisation of stealthing across the nation.
Over the course of the last two years, Australian laws pertaining to consent have been consistently debated and reformed, and the act of stealthing – the removal of a condom during sex without obtaining consent – has been at the forefront.
Stealthing is not a new concept, particularly to women, as the current research shows one in three Australian women have been victim to stealthing at least once in their lives.Read more
Sydney Criminal Lawyers: Prison Guard Charged with Murder of Aboriginal Detainee
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) NSW announced on 10 August that it was applying to the NSW Supreme Court to have a charge laid against a Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) officer, who shot a Wiradjuri man in the back, upgraded from manslaughter to murder.
To charge a prison guard with the murder of a First Nations detainee is unprecedented in Australia. Indeed, charging the prison guard with manslaughter in relation to the death in February last year was already a first in itself.
“This development means that there’s substantial evidence that the corrective officer involved had the intent to murder,” said Paul Silva, whose been campaigning for reform around Aboriginal deaths in custody since his uncle died at Long Bay Gaol in 2015.Read more
2022 Annual Dinner - Announcing a stellar line up
We are honoured to have special guests the Hon. Linda Burney MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians and Thomas Mayor, a signatory to Uluru Statement from the Heart, as our special guests our 2022 Annual NSW Council for Civil Liberties Dinner. Join us to listen and learn about the importance of Voice, Treaty and Truth and the momentous opportunity this presents for our nation and our organisation to support this important campaign.Read more
Prof Jenny Hocking: ‘Scott Morrison’s ministerial fetish: ”An unprecedented trashing of our democracy”’
Scott Morrison must resign immediately as the member for Cook, leave the Parliament, and try to salvage what remains of his shredded reputation as Australia’s 30th Prime Minister writes Prof Jenny Hocking.Read more
NSWCCL: Missed opportunity to reform and futureproof the Legislation Act 2003.
The Commonwealth Government has completed its 2021-2022 review of the Legislation Act 2003. NSWCCL provided a submission to the review and continues to hold the view that the recommendations of the committee could have and should have gone much further.Read more
NSW Law Reform Commission Report Tabled
The NSW Law Reform Commission (LRC) recently tabled in the NSW Parliament Report 149 - Open Justice: Court and tribunal information: access, disclosure and publication.
The report makes 156 recommendations dealing with the operation of NSW court suppression and non-publication orders and access to information in NSW courts and tribunals. It is informed by the principles that, open justice is fundamental to the integrity of the administration; exceptions to access should be minimal and necessary to protect certain sensitive information, vulnerable people and the administration of justice; and the power and discretion of the judiciary, to control court proceedings and to determine open justice issues, should be preserved to the maximum extent possible.Read more
Submission: Consultations with NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC
NSWCCL is a Non-Government Organisation in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC). We sought this special status because we believe that NGOs provide meaningful contributions to the work of ECOSOC by ensuring that states are accountable in their reports to the body. NGOs also augment state reports and call out poor state conduct through their ability to speak from experiences which are closer to the ground and embedded within states.Read more
Sydney Criminal Lawyers: First Nations Prison Rate Climbs, Despite Drop in Overall Inmate Numbers
The NSW Bureau of Crimes Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) just released its state custody figures for June 2022, which indicate that inmate numbers have continued on with their downward spiral that commenced at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mid-year, there were 12,336 adult prisoners in the NSW correctional system, whilst prior to the onset of the coronavirus, in June 2019, there were 13,403 people inside this state’s prisons, marking a drop of over 1,000 prisoners.
But, in stark contrast, the number of First Nations inmates has continued to rise. Since March, an additional 117 adult Aboriginal people had been incarcerated in state gaols. This led to 3,581 First Nations adults inside in June, as compared with 3,474 back in mid-2019.Read more
Review of Bullying, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct in NSW Parliamentary Workplaces out today
The review, conducted by former sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, has been released today and found that bullying is a significant issue across Parliamentary workplaces in NSW. Some offices are described as “well-known hotspots”, characterised by high rates of staff turnover related to harmful behaviours.Read more
Aboriginal teen’s death in prison would likely have been prevented if he’d seen a cardiologist, WA coroner finds.
An Aboriginal teenager who died in prison from complications due to rheumatic heart disease would not have died if he had seen a specialist, a Western Australian coroner has found.Read more
Sydney Criminal Lawyers: Big Australian Retailers Sprung Collecting Customer’s Faceprints
Sydney Criminal Lawyer's Paul Gregoire unpacks the implications of Peter Dutton's proposed nationwide facial recognition system.
This system, known as the Capability, which would link up all federal and state citizen photo identification databases, so law enforcement could identify individuals in CCTV images in real time.
Dutton’s legislation in this regard was never voted through parliament. And various appraisals of the technology have found it is hopelessly flawed, especially when it comes to misidentifying people of colour and women. In fact, UK police found it misidentified subjects 95 percent of the time.Read more
Submission: Review of aspects of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988
NSWCCL made a submission to the NSW's Committee on the Independent Commission Against Corruption regarding the Review of aspects of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.
The risk of corruption is deeply concerning because, if not effectively checked, it threatens our democratic values and processes – including the rights and liberties of free and equal persons. This is why we support a strong and effective ICAC, appropriately constrained by safeguards for individual liberties and rights that are compatible with operational effectiveness.Read more
ABC: Blockade Australia climate activist must let police access phone
NSW police are abusing their powers in imposing bail conditions on peaceful protestors that in effect, shut down political communication and freedom of speech.
NSWCCL President, Josh Pallas spoke with ABC’s Ariel Bogle about this extreme and unwarranted use of the Bail Act. "It is meant to stop people from not appearing in court, from committing other serious offences, or perceived danger to the community, or interfering with witnesses," he said of bail law. "They are peacefully protesting. Where is the threat to security?"
For more information, read the full article.
Freedom of Speech Essay for the Law Society Journal
NSWCCL member, Josh Krook recently published an essay for the Law Society Journal regarding freedom of speech in Australia.
The article focusses on the Comcare v Banerji case which has allowed the government to make statutes that silence individuals and groups, leading to a range of proposed legislation that poses a severe risk to the future of our democracy.
Without a proper right to free speech, Australians risk a new era of government censorship and silencing.
For more information, read the full article.
NSWCCL: Bail conditions are being weaponised - Where will it end?
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties has been advocating for the rights of protestors since 1963 and today we are living in some of the darkest times our members have seen.Read more
Move to restore territory rights in the first fortnight of the 47th Parliament
Returning MPs for the federal electorates of Canberra, Alicia Payne, and Solomon, Luke Gosling, will stand up for Territory rights in the 47th federal parliament. Ms Payne has confirmed that the new Labor government will allow the parliament to debate restoring territory rights in the upcoming first sitting fortnight.Read more
Australia slides down on global list of aid transparency rankings
The latest Aid Transparency Index has revealed that the transparency around Australia’s aid funds remains on the decline.
“This is a worrying trend, as it is vital that there is transparency around where aid money is spent,” said Marc Purcell, CEO of the Australian Council for International Development.Read more