NSWCCL in the media

Sydney Criminal Lawyers: The Sluggish Demise of Drug Prohibition Is Gaining Momentum

Right before the pandemic shut down shifted the focus of concern, NSW drug policy was under scrutiny with the then Berejiklian government baulking at pill testing trials to address drug-related deaths at events and rather attempting to shut down the festival industry as a response.

So, it’s against this backdrop that Drug Policy Australia held the Is It Time to Legalise Drugs? forum in Sydney, with a lineup of speakers representing some of the heavyweights in the drug law reform space, including Fair Treatment and Harm Reduction Australia, who came together to discuss the long recognised need to end a century of drug prohibition.

The Fair Treatment decriminalisation campaign was launched in 2018, with a long list of civil society groups in support of it, including the NSW Bar Association and NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

For more information, read the full article


ABC News: Victoria brings in 'gross indecency' laws

New laws criminalising 'grossly offensive conduct' have been introduced into Victoria's parliament today, ABC News reports. However, Criminalising something as broad as offensive conduct brings with it a set of complex challenges of definition and should be the subject of close scrutiny. NSWCCL spokesperson Stephen Blanks comments on new Victorian government law criminalising grossly offensive conduct.

For more information, listen to the full video


Joint Statement: Trade Unions, Civil Society & Human Rights Organisations add their voice to disallow NSW Anti-Protest Laws

Trade Unions, NSW civil society and human rights organisations are calling on the NSW Upper House to seize the opportunity to disallow the short-sighted, draconian regulations in the new NSW Government anti-protest laws through a disallowance motion introduced by Greens MLC, Abigail Boyd.

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Sydney Criminal Lawyers: “Cautiously Optimistic” NSW Council for Civil Liberties Josh Pallas on Albanese

Josh Pallas, President NSWCCL, sat down with Sydney Criminal Lawyer's Paul Gregoire to discuss Josh’s take on the new Albanese Government. Josh wrote last week that NSWCCL welcomes the end of the Morrison government, while it’s “cautiously optimistic” about the coming of Albanese and the changes it could bring.

"My views haven’t changed, I remain cautiously optimistic. The picture of the Nadesalingam family back in Biloela over the weekend were great and social services minister Amanda Rishworth’s early end to the trial of the cashless debit card for welfare recipients was another excellent news story.

The attorney general also sounds like he’s busy at work making preparations for the introduction of a national integrity commission. So, there are definitely promising signs." Josh Pallas said. 

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Star Observer: What next for Queer Politics under the Albanese Government?

Josh Pallas, President NSWCCL, unpacks how things may look for queer politics under the Albanese Government. Before the election Prime Minister Albanese committed to reintroducing a form of protection for religious persons from discrimination, while at the same time protecting queer students from expulsion from schools. Labor’s policy platform speaks to strengthening anti-discrimination laws, not weakening them. But until we see the details of any proposed bill we won’t know whether queer rights are curtailed or removed in favour of religious rights.

For more information, read the full article.


Lawyers Weekly: NSW Local Court appoints 3 new magistrates

Three new magistrates have been appointed to the Local Court of NSW bringing with them almost 90 years’ worth of collective experience.

Aaron Tang, Don McLennan and Pauline Wright will be sworn in on 7, 8 and 9 June, respectively.

Attorney-General Mark Speakman said, “These appointees bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the NSW Local Court, having worked across a range of areas in legal practice.”

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) congratulated their former President, Ms Wright, on her appointment to the Local Court of NSW.

Josh Pallas was elected to take over Ms Wright’s position as President following her resignation.

“Pauline’s departure was unexpected and will be a great loss to NSWCCL. I have no doubt that she will prove to be an outstanding and compassionate Magistrate and will serve the citizens of our state well”, Mr Pallas said.

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LSJ: Former Law Society President appointed Local Court magistrate

Former President of the Law Society of NSW Pauline Wright will be sworn in as magistrate to the Local Court this month, as part of plethora of new appointments to the state’s busiest court system.

Wright, who is a Partner at PJ Donnellan & Co in Gosford, boasts a rich career and has been active in the areas of criminal justice, anti-terrorism and asylum seeker policy. Wright was president of the Law Society of NSW in 2017, having served on the Council since 1997. She has also held the office of President of the Law Council of Australia, and President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

The NSWCCL congratulated Wright on her appointment and thanked her for her long service and organisation. Wright’s election as President in 2019 made history for NSWCCL as the second only woman to be elected to the office since the organization was founded in 1963.

“Pauline’s departure was unexpected and will be a great loss to NSWCCL. I have no doubt that she will prove to be an outstanding and compassionate Magistrate and will serve the citizens of our state well,” Wright’s successor Josh Pallas said.

For more information, read the full article.


Honi Soit: What are the details of the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill?

NSW has become the last state to legalise voluntary assisted dying (VAD) after a landmark bill passed the lower house on the 20th of May. The bill will allow people with a terminal diagnosis to access voluntary assisted dying, subject to a set of legislated safeguards.

The passage of the bill saw a slew of amendments proposed by its opponents in the upper house. The filibuster attempt included a failed amendment to allow aged care facilities to ban residents from accessing voluntary assisted dying.

The right to access VAD has been endorsed by organisations like the Dying with Dignity NSW, Go Gentle Australia, the NSW Nurses & Midwives’ Association, the NSW Council on the Aging, ACON and the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

For more information, read the full article. 


Sydney Criminal Lawyers: Federal Parties and Independents on How They Plan to Uphold Civil Liberties

The close to a decade that the federal Coalition has been in power has seen an ever-increasing authoritarian creep, Sydney Criminal Lawyers reports. 

Australia is a nation that is increasing repressions against First Nations, provides no rights guarantees to all, tortures and punishes refugees, subjects women to inequity and violence, increasingly surveils its public, promotes opaque government and is actively compounding the climate crisis for profit.

So, as a federal election is looming, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) considered it a prime time to check in with all the political parties and independents running in the national vote to inquire as to how they’ll approach these pressing issues over the next term of parliament.

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SBSNews: World's first program helps Australia's football players block online trolling

In a world-first partnership, the A-League and Professional Footballers Australia, the player’s union, have teamed up with a software company GoBubble Community to shield players from abuse across multiple social media platforms, SBSNews reports. 

The technology underwent a successful trial during the A-League’s inaugural pride games, hosted by Adelaide United in February. It meant players such as Josh Cavallo, the world's only active gay player, were shielded from seeing hateful comments on social media platforms.

Our former president Stephen Blanks couldn't see any civil liberties issues with the technology but when talking to SBSNews warned:

"There will be posts that are inadvertently blocked or let through and when an organisation like the A-league adopts this technology they should be very transparent as to how it works to give the public confidence that it will operate fairly."

For more information, read the full article.