NSWCCL in the media

Cannabis, Covid-19 and Drug Supply

This article by Lamont Law, published on Lexology, begins with the case of a NSW truck driver who smuggled 145kg of cannabis across the QLD/NSW border.

It cites an Australian institute of Criminology report which found that:

  • regular cannabis users reported using cannabis significantly more often than before the pandemic
  • people who had changes in their employment, financial or living situation or mental health were more likely to increase cannabis use
  • many users reported increased prices and decreasing numbers of dealers in Brisbane, Queensland

It considers sentencing for drug offences, planned reforms and our statement condemning a Bill that would provide police with extraordinary powers in circumstances where adequate powers currently exist to search and seize items related to drug activity.

Read the full article: Cannabis, Covid-19 and Drug Supply Lexology 27 Aug '21

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Fines confusion

This Sydney Morning Herald article talks to people fined $1000 for eating outside. It quotes NSWCCL President Pauline Wright, who points out that the Police Commissioner's assurance to police that he wouldn't hold them accountable for wrongly issued fines is “tacit acknowledgement that the rules are difficult to understand.”

“If the police can’t be expected to fully understand them, and it’s their job, how are ordinary people expected to understand and comply as well?” Ms Wright said.

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Police Commissioner's comments a "failure of leadership"

The Sydney Morning Herald writes that, in a video to the force, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller asked officers to "put community policing to the side" for 21 days. He went on to say "I have said before, if you write a ticket, and you get it wrong, I understand, and I won’t hold you to account for that."

Former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions and NSWCCL committee member and former President, Nicholas Cowdery QC, said while it was important all legitimate means be used to deal with the crisis, it was a “failure of leadership to tell officers in advance that if they get something wrong, there will be no consequences”.

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Our Government doesn't want a bill of rights

Writing for Mondaq, Paul Gregoire looks at our rights in the context of the current COVID lockdowns. He concludes that we have very few, with Australia the only western liberal democracy that "fails to have a piece of legislation that establishes and upholds the rights of the people".

Examining our failure to pass such legislation, he refers to former NSWCCL president Stephen Blanks, saying that  an underlying reason for the major parties not being keen on passing such a bill is it would place restrictions on their power whilst in office.

Read the full article: Australia: The federal government does not want a national bill of rights Mondaq 5 Aug '21

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COVID-19 'vaccine passport

The ABC considers how the proposed carrot-and-stick approach of vaccine passports might work, for example with the fully vaccinated exempt from state border closures or lockdowns; business given the all clear to remain open during lockdowns, but only for the fully vaccinated; or travel bans to apply only to the unvaccinated.

It moves on to consider whether this kind of conditional restriction would be legal.

NSWCCL President Pauline Wright told the ABC that Australia's powerful health and biosecurity laws gave governments the right to do this sort of thing. "At both state level and federal level, it is legal for the government to impose restrictions on people in times of health emergency," she said.

Read the full article: The COVID-19 'vaccine passport' is coming. Here's how it could work and how it's legal ABC 5 Aug '21

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Sydney police need to be more aware of Legal Observers, says NSWCCL

Lawyers Weekly covered our letter to the NSW Police Commissioner over the way volunteer Legal Observers are being treated at protests across the city, saying:

'In a letter addressed to Commissioner Michael Fuller APM, president of NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) Pauline Wright raised concerns over the treatment of volunteer Legal Observers by police at a number of protests in Sydney during recent months.'

Read the full article: Sydney police need to be more aware of Legal Observers, says NSWCCL Lawyers Weekly 5 August 2021

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Vaccines: employers have a right to keep everyone safe

Speaking to the Australian, NSWCCL President Pauline Wright backed vaccine mandates in high-risk workplaces and jab passports to access stadiums and nightclubs, saying life itself is a fundamental right. 

"It's within the rights of employers to say to employees I need to keep everyone safe. The right to life, the right to be free of disease, is pretty fundamental," she said.

Full article: (subscription required) Life more of a right than jab refusal The Australian  4 Aug '21

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'Australia: police doing the political dirty work'

A Swiss perspective on the friendlyjordies arrest:

"In Australia, politicians use anti-terror law to muzzle critics: an Australian comedian is currently experiencing first-hand how the anti-terror law can also be used."

NSWCCL Treasurer Stephen Blanks tells SRF that "we have a legal system which is weak on protecting legal rights and particularly weak on protecting free speech".

More information:

 

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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

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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

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