Journalism matters, a healthy and trusted press is an essential pillar to any democracy. Since 2019 we have recognised journalists working in Australia who produce excellent work promoting civil liberties, calling out human rights abuses and holding governments and corporations to account.
Last night, emerging from an incredibly strong field, we honoured three outstanding journalists in our Young Journalist and Open Journalist categories for Excellence in Civil Liberties Journalism.Read more
Yesterday, Past President and Life Member of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, the Hon. Cameron Murphy AM, MLC recogonised the Councils 60th anniversay celebrations.
"I recognise the important work of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, which will celebrate its sixtieth anniversary tonight with a gala dinner in Sydney. The anniversary event will be hosted by Dr Meredith Burgmann, AM, who is a former President of this House. The guest speaker will be Craig Foster, AM, who is the current chair of the Australian Republic Movement. He will be discussing the need for an Australian republic and a strong and independent Australia. It is a cause that I have a deep and abiding interest in.Read more
News.com.au: Controversial rule to give ICAC power to obtain illegal recordings fails disallowance motionShare
Six years ago, in the heart of this nation, a proclamation was made. Over 250 delegates representing First Nations joined to deliver the Uluru Statement from the Heart, inviting Australians to enshrine an Indigenous Voice within the constitution and to advance truth telling and treaty making.
We are mere weeks until the referendum day on the 14th October when Australians will vote on whether to enshrine a Voice in the Constitution. I take this moment to reiterate our support for a First Nations Voice to Parliament. We strive, in this moment, to be the best allies we can. I note that the discourse surrounding the referendum campaign has reified intergenerational trauma and unearthed historic injustices and the Voice is only one vehicle through which First Nations’ justice may be achieved in Australia.Read more
Human rights and civil liberties groups, including NSW Council for Civil Liberties, have expressed serious doubts about Labor’s move to minimise misinformation, claiming its proposed law threatens free speech and democratic rights.
The rights groups join a growing coalition of voices criticising the Albanese government’s bid to give the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) powers to penalise groups like Meta if they fail to remove misinformation and disinformation.
NSW and Queensland’s peak civil liberties bodies have both revealed their opposition to sections of Labor’s draft bill, arguing it gives the government body too much power to police speech.Read more
Australia remains the only liberal democracy globally without rights protections enshrined in federal law. Indeed, until not so long ago, no bill of rights or Human Rights Act (HRA) existed at any level of government: that was until the often-pioneering ACT Legislative Assembly passed one in 2002.
And while the stalemate has continued at the federal level, other states have followed the ACT’s lead, with Victoria enacting a charter of rights in 2004 and Queensland passing its Human Rights Act in 2019, which still leaves the people of NSW unprotected at all levels.
But this looks likely to change, as members of the 40-odd NSW legal and civil society organisations, including NSW Council for Civil Liberties, running the Human Rights Act for NSW campaign (HRA4NSW) hosted a recent event that saw the NSW attorney general Michael Daley confirm he is open to enacting one.Read more
The Guardian: NSW gay conversion opponents may have to be careful what they say under new anti-discrimination law
Opponents of gay conversion practices may need to be careful of critising the institutions that promote it due to the new anti-discrimination laws that passed in New South Wales parliament on Thursday, legal experts have said.
The Minns government’s religious vilification bill, with backing from the opposition, amended the existing Anti-Discrimination Act to make it unlawful to vilify people or organisations on the grounds of their religion.
Alastair Lawrie, an expert in anti-discrimination law at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, said that “It would be disappointing if this bill passes in its current form,” ahead of the bill being passed. Lawrie expressed that the changes being made were too broad and could lead to restrictions in freedom of speech.Read more
Legislation making it illegal to publicly ridicule someone due to their religious beliefs has passed NSW Parliament.
The amendment to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 makes it unlawful to "by a public act, incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons, because of their religious belief, affiliation or activity".
Civil Liberties Council president Josh Pallas expressed concern at the time it could become illegal to criticise religious institutions such as the Catholic Church, Hillsong or the Church of Scientology as it could be seen as vilifying individual followers.
For more information, read the full article.
Queer activist groups and human rights organisations have come out in opposition to the proposed NSW religious vilification bill, citing its failure to adequately protect LGBTQI communities.
The bill amends the Anti-Discrimination Act to make it “unlawful to, by a public act, incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons, because of their religious belief, affiliation or activity.”
In a statement, President of NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) Josh Pallas called on the Bill to either “address all discrimination now” or be withdrawn until the review of the Anti-Discrimination Act by the NSW Law Reform Commission is complete.Read more
Activist are planning to gather at the Sydney Town Hall from 1pm on Saturday, 5 August to protest proposed changes to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act that would see “religious vilification” become a criminal offense.\
There is concern that the definition of “religious vilification” in the bill is too vague and that it could be used to protect hate speech against LGBTIQA+ people or practices like conversion therapy.
There is also concern that the proposed bill could further entrench religious exemptions in NSW’s anti-discrimination laws that allow religious groups and businesses they own to legally discriminate against people on the grounds of their sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status.