A Chinese-born, Australian passport holder, Zhao Nuo, has been prosecuted in China for the murder of his wife in Perth.
Zhao successfully managed to flee the country before police could prosecute and was then convicted in China. Zhao's conviction was hailed in Australian and Chinese media reports as a major breakthrough in cross-border law enforcement co-operation. But at what cost?
Zhao is an Australian citizen, who committed a crime, albeit a horrifically brutal one, in Australia before fleeing to China.
In the absence of an extradition treaty, he was tried and ultimately convicted in China, a country with little regard for legal niceties or judicial process. While Australian authorities were assured the death penalty would not be imposed, it's not clear what, if any, other safeguards were sought or received.
"There are some basic conditions on criminal prosecutions that should have been sought and apparently were not .... things like an open court trial, access to counsel and the right to challenge evidence," says Stephen Blanks, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.
"The question is whether we should co-operate with a system which does not afford defendants basic human rights."
Article: China sentence for Perth murder sets dangerous cross-border precedent
Source: Australian Financial Review
Daryush "Roosh" Valizadeh, founder of the self-styled men's advocacy group Return of Kings, a "neomasculinist" group, announced on Twitter on Monday evening that he had booked a ticket on a flight to Australia. The move appears to be in response to online outcry over news that Mr Valizadeh's supporters would host face-to-face "tribal meetings" in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane on Saturday. A representative of City of Sydney Council said the council "are making sure the police know about the meeting".
Solicitor Stephen Blanks, the President of the NSW Council of Civil Liberties, said there may be grounds for police to disrupt the meeting.
"If the organisers of the assembly don't give one week's notice to the police then the police may enforce the law about unlawful assembly and obstruction against the people who participate," Mr Blanks said.
"Defending the right of free speech involves providing opportunities to people to express opinions which society appals and rejects. The right to free speech does not include the right to advocate violence in any way that may encourage actual violence against women or anyone else.
"If this group is stepping over that boundary, they have no right to assembly."
Article:'Legal rape' group Return of Kings leader Daryush 'Roosh' Valizadeh announces he will come to Australia
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
The Advertiser revealed a staggering half of an entire Wagga work crew was walked offsite this week after testing positive to drugs.
Despite the incident acting as a damning reminder of how entrenched the drug scourge is in Wagga, civil libertarians have dubbed the growing reality of compulsory work site drug testing as “ludicrous” and “farcical”.
NSW Council for Civil Liberties president, Stephen Blanks, said a worker could return a positive reading days, weeks and even months after using, but that their ability to work may not be impaired.
“Employers have a responsibility to make sure the workplace is safe and machinery is operated safely, but drug testing is not a satisfactory way of ensuring that and can operate to the extreme prejudice of workers,” Mr Blanks said. “Detection of drugs in blood or saliva is not a real indication of impairment.”
Article: Drug testing 'undermines work ethic'
Source: The Daily Advertiser
Thousands of protesters are expected to picket the streets of Newtown on December 12, blocking traffic as a “demonstration of the gridlock the WestConnex will cause” and to demand a “liveable city for all”.
The protest will double as a street party, with a ‘multi-stage mobile protest festival’ starring local bands and DJs filling the streets of Newtown.
“The common issue is that the State Government is more interested in looking after lobby groups that have given them money than the interests of the average citizen,” Mr Loch said. “Take the lockout laws, for example. We saw a bunch of property developers smashing up our old venues and putting in plans to build massive apartment blocks on them.”
Stephen Blanks, the president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, told City Hub that the lockout laws limited individual freedom.
“While the lockout laws represent a restriction of civil liberties, one can’t say there haven’t been corresponding benefits,” Mr Blank told City Hub.
“There are competing civil liberties involved in licensing laws: one is the ability to obtain services at licensed premises at whatever time of day suits you, versus the ability to walk the streets safely,” he said. “There are choices to be made about where to draw the line, and balance competing interests, and those should be regularly looked at.”
Article: Protestors fed up with ‘the wealthy always winning
Source: Alt Media
Australia's parliament has passed legislation to strip dual nationals of their citizenship if they are convicted of terrorism offences or found to have fought with banned groups overseas, despite concerns about deporting jihadists.
Attorney-General George Brandis said the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill, passed late Thursday, updated existing law to reflect "the new age of terrorism".
Stephen Blanks, president of the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, said Australia would be breaching its international obligations if it sent people back to countries where they faced torture.
"It's not going to have any real impact on solving the problem," he told AFP on Friday.
Article: Australia passes anti-terrorism law to strip citizenship
Much-loved Australian music festival Strawberry Fields, which took place at Koonamoo in Victoria’s north over the weekend, made headlines earlier this week after police detected dozens of drug drivers heading to the festival. A Victoria Police media release claimed a total of 56 drivers were detected driving to the festival under the influence and a further 60 were caught in possession of drugs as part of a four-day joint operation.
Earlier this year, the NSWCCL came out against the rollout of random roadside drug tests in the state several months back, saying the strict liability offence was unfair to drivers as it depicts anyone with trace amounts of drugs in their system as ‘impaired’.
“Cannabis can hang around in your system for days, maybe even a few weeks, but not have any impact on your ability to drive,” said Blanks. “It is illegal to possess those drugs, but it’s never been illegal to take them. It’s a small point, but it’s worth taking in mind.”
Blanks said the absence of any threshold for drug use, such as the 0.05 BAC for alcohol, was one of the issues with roadside drug tests. “With alcohol, there is a threshold below which it is recognised that usage doesn’t impair ability to drive,” he said.
“With drug tests, there is absolute zero tolerance. The problem of drug driving are issues probably not best dealt with through random testing. Perhaps it should be other ways, like driver education or better laws around drug usage or possession.”
Article:WERE 56 PEOPLE REALLY DRIVING HIGH TO STRAWBERRY FIELDS?
Source: Tonedeaf Online Magazine
NSW police will have the power to shoot armed offenders in terrorist situations on sight under a new policy, but civil libertarians say independent review and high level training are imperative.
The force is replacing its contain and negotiate policy, and critics are concerned about the lack of detail surrounding the policy, which hasn't been released for operational reasons.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties says extensive training will be necessary if frontline police are to be given the discretion.
"There are very high risks involved in a shoot at first sight approach and obviously a one size reaction won't fit all situations," vice-president Lesley Lynch told AAP.
"It would be important that any incident which led to the death or serious injury of a person was subject of an independent review."
Article:NSW police adopt 'shoot now' approach for terrorist attacks Or NSW police get 'shoot now' discretion;
Source: SBS/Sky News
The NSW Police Force illegally hacked the private Facebook account of a Sydney man in a move branded a reprehensible and "criminal offence" by a magistrate.
After four months of illegal police surveillance on a closed Facebook page, Rhys Liam Halvey was arrested and charged with three counts of using a carriage service to offend police and a further three counts of publishing an indecent article. But all six charges have now been withdrawn and dismissed. In ordering costs against police, Magistrate Brown described the conduct as "reprehensible" and the charges as "trivial."
NSW Council of Civil Liberties president Stephen Blanks said public confidence in the police was being "undermined" by an inability to acknowledge the occasions when "it does the wrong thing."
"How deep in police culture is this willingness to break the law?" he asked. "Even after they have been caught out, it would appear no adverse consequences are going to be suffered by those responsible because the illegal actions are supported by police at the most senior level."
Article:Private Facebook posts illegally hacked by NSW police
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
The NSW government last week announced a $47 million package to dispatch specialist teams and trained counsellors to schools across the state to help identify students at risk of "radicalisation" and help to counter violent extremism in youngsters.
But there are rumblings of discontent among parents who say they were not consulted before the new measures were announced. Parents are concerned they have been left out in the cold as the state government and schools plough ahead with plans to combat "violent extremism" among children.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties warned that the whole suite of measures to target violent extremism could be derailed without parent involvement.
"It's pretty obvious that programs like this cannot work unless there's wide consultation over the way in which they are framed and the way in which they work," the council's president, Stephen Blanks, said.
"Once you have people who feel outside the program ... that they have not been consulted, that is what is going to undermine the program. I think families and parents are critical players in the fight against violent extremism."
Article:Parents left out in the cold over plans to combat 'violent extremism' in schools
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald