NSWCCL Committee

The  Committee manages the business of NSWCCL. It consists of 15 ordinary members (in addition to the Executive members) and is elected annually. The Committee usually meets on the 4th Wednesday of every month. CCL members are welcome to attend - please email [email protected] to confirm date and venue. 

Michelle Falstein  

Michelle acted as Secretary from October 2019 to June 2022 and has stepped down to act as assistant Secretary as of June 2022 and became Assistant Secretary until October 2023. Michelle has practiced as a solicitor in Sydney’s CBD for over 30 years and has Bachelors degrees, in Arts/Law (UNSW) and Science (USYD), and a Masters in Environmental Law (USYD). She rejoined NSWCCL in 2016; was appointed to the committee in 2018; and is currently a convenor of the Privacy committee.

Michelle has always had a strong interest in civil rights and law reform, particularly the decriminalisation of abortion. Her submissions have dealt with privacy issues in the My Health Record, Identity Matching Services, the Non-consensual Sharing of Intimate Images and mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients.


Jonathan Gadir

Jonathan works in privacy law with special focus on new digital ventures and media and entertainment sector. He previously worked in the news media and the NGO sector and taught media, entertainment and communications law.



Dr Lesley Lynch

Dr Lynch was Assistant Secretary in 2019-20. Lesley joined NSWCCL in 2006 because the escalating attacks on civil liberties post 9/11 made it the obvious site for renewed activism. Lesley was elected Assistant Secretary in 2007, Secretary in 2013 and Vice President 2015 - October 2019.   

Lesley has a history of political activism in anti-war and anti-apartheid campaigns, gay liberation and the women’s liberation movement.  Professionally she has been a school teacher, university teacher and researcher in history and politics and, from the 1980s a public servant.  As a member of the senior executive service she worked closely with a number of ministers on strategy and policy issues and was the chair or member of state and national boards and committees. In 2004-5 she worked on AusAid programs in PNG.

Within CCL she has been active on policy issues including national security counter-terrorism and the surveillance state, electoral processes, protest rights, effective anti-corruption bodies at state and federal levels and decriminalisation of abortion. She has been convenor of the Privacy and Freedom of Information and the Justice group and, from 2012-14, the National ASIO Campaign. Lesley is currently convenor of the National Security and Counter Terrorism Action Group and works with civil liberties bodies across Australia to collaborate on national responses to the veritable tsunami of national security/counter terrorism laws and other national issues.  

Lesley has a BA (Hons), Dip Ed and PhD in History from Sydney University.

Dr Martin Bibby

Martin has been a member of the Committee since 2004. He was Assistant Secretary for a number of years and  convener of civil rights subcommittee 2007-2013.  Martin writes a large number of CCL’s submissions in relation to civil liberties and human rights issues. 

martinbibby.pngFormerly President of: Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia, NSW Institute for Educational Research, Schoolwatch Committee;  Chair of the Board of Educational Philosophy and Theory and the ethics committee of the Australian Association for Research in Education; secretary of the Federation of Australian Postgraduate Associations

Nicholas Cowdery AO, QC FAAL

Nicholas Cowdery AO, QC, was the NSWCCL President from October 2019 to January 2021. A barrister, Nick was the Director of Public Prosecutions for the Australian state of New South Wales from 1994 to 2011. Nick also served as President of the International Association of Prosecutors from 1999 to 2005.

Mr Cowdery was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in June 2003, and an Officer of the Order in June 2019 in recognition of his distinguished service to the law, to the protection of human rights, to professional legal bodies, and to the community.

Hans Heilpern

Hans Heilpern is currently a legal member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal. As an academic he developed and taught in the first NSW tertiary courses for police and prison officers.

During the Wran Labor Government he was chief of staff to the Attorney General and later the Director General of the Department of Community Services.

Hans has been a member of a number of Commonwealth and State tribunals and was a member of the NSW Parole Board.

He was a special consultant to Commonwealth Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the Commonwealth Minister for Health in connection with HIV/AIDS in prison. He was a Commissioner on the Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland.

Cassandra Wilkinson

Cass Wilkinson is an experienced community sector non-executive director. She has served as president of FBi Radio, Vice President of the community broadcasting association of Australia, Vice President of the Human Capital Project, a director of Music NsW and treasurer of the inner west roller derby league.

Cass is passionate about artistic freedom, community building and the urgent work of Reconciliation.


Malcolm Ramage KC

Malcolm is a barrister specialising in criminal law. He was appointed KC in 1990. Malcolm has been a NSWCCL member since about 1971 and has has held the role of President.



Timothy Roberts

Timothy commenced in the legal profession in April 2020 at NEW Law, a law firm owned by unions and that provides legal services to unions, union members and the general public. Timothy commenced as a paralegal and research assistant to support Counsel Assisting the Teachers Federation Independent Inquiry into the status of teaching, and his work in this role contributed to the 2021 Valuing the teacher profession report. Timothy was admitted as a solicitor in July 2021.

Prior to Timothy’s appointment at NEW Law, he worked as a Senior Education Officer and Executive Officer at the NSW Education Standards Authority. Timothy holds a Bachelor of Biomedical Science and Master of Education from the University of Newcastle, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Technology Sydney.

Timothy began his career as a secondary science teacher, working primarily in regional NSW. In 2016, he was a representative for public schools on the Quality Teaching Council.

Timothy has also worked as a Relief Officer in many roles at the NSW Teachers Federation and been an association representative on their Branch Council.


Adam Connor

Adam is currently a union organiser and law student. Adam commenced studies at University of New South Wales in 2021 and is working towards completion of a combined Bachelors degrees, in Arts/Law. He has been working within the Union movement since 2021 in a variety or roles and more recently works as an organiser in the Hospitality industry, where he assists in enterprise bargaining, workplace disputes, and general representation.

Adam joined the NSWCCL management committee this year.


Josh Pallas

Josh Pallas was President of NSWCCL from mid 2022 to our AGM in October 2023. Josh has been a passionate and effective NSWCCL member since being placed with the Council as an intern under Stephen Blanks’s supervision by the Law School at the University of Wollongong. He has been active since 2016, joining the management committee in January 2017, becoming Vice-President from October 2017 - 2019 and again in October 2021.

He holds Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts degrees with First Class Honours from the University of Wollongong and a Master of Laws in Criminal Justice from the University of New South Wales. He was Tipstaff to the Hon. Justice Megan Latham in the Supreme Court before moving into criminal, public and commercial law practice and then to the Crown Solicitor's Office focusing on counterterrorism, criminal law and environmental crime.

Josh is completing a PhD on preventive detention and supervision laws in NSW at the University of Sydney. He has published academic works on criminal and human rights law in a range of journals including the Public Law Review, Current Issues in Criminal Justice and the University of Tasmania Law Review, as well as pieces for non-specialist audiences across the broader media including the Sydney Morning Herald and SBS.


John Joy

John is a City Organiser for the Australian Education Union NSW Teachers Federation Branch. He has extensive experience working as a teacher and assistant principal in public education, primarily with the NSW Department of Education. John has been a school Federation representative, Liverpool Teachers Association president and branch councillor. He holds a Diploma of Teaching and Bachelor of Commerce with a concentration in Industrial Relations which supports advocating for improved working conditions for teachers in public education.