NSWCCL in the media

ABC: Breakfast with Scott Levi

Commenting on the Religious Discrimination bills, our President Pauline Wright told Scott Levi: "Sadly these bills do or would allow people to override existing human rights protections and anti-discrimination laws and effectively give a licence to discriminate in the name of religious freedom. So people’s fears in that regard are founded. In my view, it is a flawed proposal because it basically puts religious views above other sorts of human rights that are really important" Pauline told Scott.

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InnovationAus: Reworked data-sharing legislation returns to Parliament with Labor’s support

'Controversial legislation paving the way for a significant expansion in the sharing of public sector data will return to Parliament this week with significant amendments and newfound support from the Opposition,' writes InnovationAus. It notes that the legislation 'offers a “new path” for the sharing of data held by the federal government currently blocked by secrecy provisions'.

The Bill, in the works for nearly four years, had 'not moved since Labor labelled it “deeply flawed” and signalled it would vote against it in April last year' but is now listed for debate this week.

Our concerns about the bill were raised in the article, along with those of other civil and digital rights groups:

The New South Wales Civil Liberties Council said it was “fundamentally flawed and violates community expectations”, and that it could enable “the robodebt scenario in an accelerated form”.

Read the full article: Reworked data-sharing legislation returns to Parliament with Labor’s support


SBS: Religious Discrimination Bill should be passed with caveats, two inquiries recommend

Our president Pauline Wright told SBS: "When you've got the ability to make a statement of belief that is going to be exempt from anti-discrimination laws, you've got something that is fundamentally flawed."

However, the Senate Inquiry recommended that 'the draft religious discrimination bill should be passed by the Senate after amendments to some of the more contentious sections of the bill'. The article notes dissent from Liberal, Labor and Green MPs, adding that 'Critics of the bill said they do not think problematic sections like section 12 on the statement of belief can be improved' calling for a 'complete overhaul of legislation'.

MS Wright noted that the whole process has revealed the importance of having a national Human Rights Act - or Bill of Rights - to deal with the issue of competing rights.

"In our view the bill should be withdrawn and taken back to the drawing board. And consult with the people who are going to be affected by it," she said.

"Consult with the LGBTI community as well as religious groups, and ensure all the competing rights are properly taken into account - because at the moment, they're not.

Full article: Religious discrimination bill should be passed with caveats, two inquiries recommend


The Age: ‘Dangerous in a democracy’

Our President Pauline Wright commented that 'the new reasoning used by Mr Hawke [to cancel Djokovic's visa] “smacked of arbitrariness” and highlighted the undue extent of the minister’s discretionary powers.' in The Age.

Full article: ‘Dangerous in a democracy’: Civil rights groups’ alarm at government’s Djokovic case The Age 16 Jan 2022


A ‘wake up call’ to see Immigration Minister’s powers ‘in action’

"To see the sweeping powers that our minister does have is a wake up call for a lot of people within Australia ... It does set a dangerous precedent that people could be deported for what they believe."

Our President Pauline Wright speaking to Sky News about the deportation of Novak Djokovic.



Lad Bible: Civil Rights Groups Explain Why Novak Djokovic's Deportation Is Concerning

Stewart Perrie comments in Lad Bible that the deportation of Djokovic "has raised a few eyebrows in the realm of civil liberties". He quotes our President:

Pauline Wright, president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, said the government was drawing a long bow to think he was a poster boy for the anti-vaxx movement.

"Do the comments in 2020 disentitle him from playing a tennis game in Australia in 2022?" she said.


The Canberra Times: NSW govt could face RAT court challenge

The Canberra Times quotes NSWCCL's secretary Michelle Falstein and ANU Associate Professor Ron Levy, discussing the potential for a legal challenge if NSW forces residents to report their positive COVID-19 rapid antigen test results.

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The ABC: South Korea uses AI and CCTV to ID and track covid patients

The ABC reports that AI including facial recognition will soon be used in South Korea in a trial to track COVID positive residents. This effort will involve linking an AI facial recognition program to the CCTV surveillance system. According to the South Korean government this is an effort to ease the workload on contact tracing, but this move is worrying from a civil libertarian perspective. Our secretary Michelle Falstein, and Professor Toby Walsh - an AI expert from UNSW - spoke to ABC reporter Rhett Burnie on the issue

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Perth Now: Fresh push for federal integrity body

Perth Now has reported on the National Press Club of Australia's event at which our President Pauline Wright spoke, commenting that "integrity campaigners have renewed calls for a federal anti-corruption commission, as the government stalls on introducing legislation for the body's creation".

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The Age: Pandemic laws contain most rigorous safeguards in nation, say experts

The Age examines the Andrews government’s controversial pandemic laws, with legal experts saying they would include the most rigorous safeguards against human rights abuses in the nation.

NSWCCL's Vice President Josh Pallas said that he did not believe any other jurisdiction applied the same level of scrutiny as Victoria.

Mr Pallas said the NSW Ombudsman did not have jurisdiction when it came to issuing public health orders. Nor did the NSW Parliament use a joint committee chaired by a non-government MP to oversee public health orders.

Read the full article: Pandemic laws contain most rigorous safeguards in nation, say experts