NSWCCL in the media

Policy wonks unite!

In its editorial, the Byron Shire Echo noted both our calls to protect contact tracing data and our coverage of the constitutionality of the lockdown.

More: Editorial - let's all acquiesce


Calls for police to show restraint after Sydney COVID-19 protest

In its coverage of the weekend's violent protests The ABC quoted NSWCCL President Pauline Wright, who condemned the weekend's violent anti-lockdown march in Sydney but says people do have the right to protest.

"Rights though are not absolute and people should protest peacefully and at the same time we would call on New South Wales Police to exercise restraint," she said.

More information: Calls for police to show restraint after Sydney COVID-19 protest


Australia needs to protect both civil liberties and national security

Writing in the Strategist, NSWCCL Vice President Lydia Shelly and John Coyne argue that Australians have seen their civil liberties and their community cohesion increasingly securitised and viewed as secondary to the need to prevent violence post 9/11.

"Despite our efforts to promote unity and to deny the world’s divisive cultural, political and ideological conflicts fertile ground to spawn hatred in Australia, old and new divisions remain deeply rooted in our multicultural society. Dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to further fracture and fragment our understanding of civil liberties and national security and how to protect them both."

For more: read the full article - Australia needs to protect both civil liberties and national security


The Delta strain is not the only thing spreading in south-west Sydney. So is racial bias

The Guardian: The disproportionate policing of lower socio-economic areas that historically have a strained relationship with police is not the answer to a health crisis, NSWCCL Vice President Lydia Shelly.

For more: read the full article in the Guardian



Should schools know about students' criminal records?

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Natassia Chrysanthos and Jordan Baker examine calls from the father of a rape victim for a confidential database, which would record details of students charged with rape, sexual harassment or intimidation, so principals could be notified if they needed to keep an eye on particular students.  

The story quotes former NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Nicholas Cowdery, who said the non-publication principles that guided police and the Children’s Court also applied to the school system.

“The department and schools would have no way of getting that information unless it were volunteered,” he said.

Mr Cowdery said a balance was required. “Whenever that applies there will be differing views about where the balance should be struck. The law leans heavily towards the privacy of children and their welfare [and] therapy,” he said.

“The question arises at a practical level: if the department or schools had such information, what would they do with it? My view is that if such offenders have been dealt with it should be left to the police and courts to put in place the best regimes for dealing with future risk.”

More information - read the full story: Up to 5000 NSW students are convicted of a crime every year. The schools are never told


Operation Ironside shows Australia is an outlier on human rights

The ABC's Ursula Malone examines why nobody in America was arrested as part of Operation Ironside - a global sting known as "Trojan Horse" that brought down hundreds of alleged Australian criminals.

'The FBI — with help from Australia and an unnamed third country — was spying on millions of messages in over 90 countries as part of the operation. The AFP made more than 500 arrests but US privacy laws stopped the same from happening there.'

NSW President Pauline Wright commented that the US had 'pretty strict protections around human rights and privacy' which Australia did not have.

'It illustrates that Australia is an outlier in terms of protections for human rights and civil liberties,' she said. 'It's good that we're able to disrupt organised crime but in doing so what we are really concerned about is that innocent parties' data could be obtained, stored and used in ways that they would never have foreseen.'

For more, read the full article: Why no-one in America was arrested as part of Operation Ironside




Is the Australian club considering ethnicity in membership decisions, asks Sky

Sky News host Chris Kenny reports that the Australian Club is considering admit female members, a topic of 'raging debate' that's due for a vote. Kenny has no problem with single sex clubs, but is troubled by comments around the admission of 'members of Asian race'. 

NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Pauline Wright advises that there's no legal reason a club shouldn't admit whoever it chooses, but comments that would lead to 'excluding a huge swathe of intelligent, clever people you might want to know'.





Missing in action? Or shouting into the void?

The Sydney Morning Heral's Michael Koziol looks back at a year during which civil liberties became an 'acceptable casualty' of efforts to counter the pandemic. He asks: "But what of the civil libertarians and rights organisations whose job – whose raison d’etre – is to fight for individual freedoms against state power? Did they abandon the field? Or have they been fruitlessly shouting into the void?"

NSW President Pauline Wright says that activists were very active, but rarely heard.

Read the full article here: ‘Missing in action’: What happened to the civil liberties movement?



Critics label data-sharing Bill as 'eroding privacy in favour of bureaucratic convenience'

Facing the Senate committee, probing the Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020, was Jonathan Gadir from the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, who highlighted the discrepancy between the goals of the Bill and what it actually allows to occur.


Read more

Government milkshake consent video 'fell well short of the mark'