NSWCCL in the media

NSWCCL President - Morrison's plan "totally contrary" to the right to freedom of expression

Media Coverage: Sydney Morning Herald

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has sparked a furore over free speech by vowing to draft new laws to ban protesters from boycotting companies, prompting claims his "feverish" talk would curb the rights of all Australians.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Nicholas Cowdery said Mr Morrison's plan was "totally contrary" to the right to freedom of expression and that existing laws could deal with unruly conduct or assault.

"Large issues such as climate change and protection of the environment encourage strong responses by citizens whose broader rights are affected," Mr Cowdery said. "Protest action may well increase if effective measures are not taken by commercial interests to address those issues. Citizens should not be criminalised for taking such action.

"The Prime Minister says that they will take their time to get it right. No matter how long they take, they cannot get right wanton infringement of the rights of Australians."

Read more HERE

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Byron Bay Officer charged over 2018 teen arrest

Media coverage: Byron Bay Echo

One of the officers involved in the arrest of a teenager in the Byron CBD last year has been charged with common assault.

The extended delay in deciding whether or not to lay charges in relation to the incident has drawn widespread criticism of the NSW DPP, and the system more broadly.

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties described the delay as ‘unacceptable’.

Read more HERE.

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Former Senator has ‘absurd’ protestor bail conditions dismissed

Media coverage: The Guardian

Former Greens senator Scott Ludlam has had bail conditions – that banned him from associating with Extinction Rebellion climate change protests – dismissed by a judge following his arrest at a protest earlier this week. The strict conditions prevented Ludlam from appearing in court on Thursday, due to restrictions on coming to the Sydney CBD.

The New South Wales Council of Civil Liberties said the conditions were “absurd”, would affect thousands of people, and infringed on the constitutional right to freedom of political communication.

Read more HERE.

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Climate change protesters slam ‘harsh bail conditions’

Media coverage: The New Daily

Extinction Rebellion activists have accused police of being politically motivated in their “brutal” handling of climate protests.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Pauline Wright said such bail conditions were usually reserved for members of bikie gangs – not social or political groups.

Read more HERE

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Extinction Rebellion protesters bail conditions 'designed for bikie gangs'

Media coverage: Sydney Morning Herald

President of the NSW Civil Liberties Council Pauline Write said the bail conditions that the protesters were asked to sign were more commonly imposed on bikie gangs and those on terrorism charges.

"They're disproportionate to the gravity of the offences with which these people were charged, which would carry a small fine if not a section 10 dismissal," Ms Wright said.

She said it would also be difficult to identify other members of the large protest group in order to not associate with them.

"These people are also required to go into Downing Centre Court, which is in the Sydney CBD, so they'll have to breach the bail conditions to come to court or obey them by not going to court and face having a warrant issued for their arrest," Ms Wright said.

Read more HERE.

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Bail conditions imposed on Sydney climate change activists a step too far

'Absurd' bail conditions prevent Extinction Rebellion protesters 'going near' other members

Civil liberties groups say bail conditions imposed on Sydney climate change activists are usually reserved for bikie gang members

Climate change protesters arrested for obstructing traffic have been given “absurd” bail conditions that ban them from “going near” or contacting members of 'Extinction Rebellion', which civil liberties groups say infringes on freedom of political communication. Some of those arrested were given a “wild” set of bail conditions that banned them from coming within 2km of the Sydney CBD or associating with Extinction Rebellion events.

“[You are] not to go near, or contact or try to go near or contact (except through a legal representative) any members of the group ‘Extinction Rebellion’,” the conditions say. “[You are] not to enter the Sydney City CBD or not go within 2km radius of the Sydney Town Hall.”

The president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Pauline Wright, labelled the conditions “patently unreasonable”, “absurd” and likely unlawful under the constitution. She said the ban was so broad and unclear it would affect thousands of people.

Where there is a legitimate political issue such as seeking action on climate change, protesters shouldn’t be seen to be forfeiting their democratic rights including freedom of association, freedom of movement and the implied right to freedom of political expression.”

- NSWCCL President, Pauline Wright.

Read the full article in The Guardian.

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Climate protesters slapped with 'absurd' bail conditions

Media Coverage: ABC Triple J - HACK

Dr Holly Champion, a young full-time piano teacher living in Sydney, had never been in trouble with the law.

But after she and other Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters were arrested on Monday, she was slapped with the kind of bail conditions normally reserved for bikie gangs.

The conditions include staying out of the Sydney CBD and not contacting or "going near" other members of Extinction Rebellion — a loosely defined organisation that has no central membership list, induction ceremony, uniform, ID card or secret handshake.

Simply by attending court they'll be breaching their bail conditions, according to NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Pauline Wright.

"To prevent them from going into the Sydney CBD is a very harsh condition," she said."It will likely affect people's ability to go to work to go to university to go about their lawful business in the city."

She said this condition on its own was too onerous, but the condition of not associating with other members of XR was "absurd".

Read more HERE.

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NSWCCL speaks out as Upper House examines Right to Farm Bill

Media coverage: Yahoo News

A bill which could see NSW farm trespassers face the toughest penalties in the country is set for an upper house probe, with civil organisations fearful the draft laws will hinder the right to peaceful protest.

NSW Council of Civil Liberties President Pauline Wright said criminal laws should only be directed against those guilty of "substantial wrongdoing". Wright labelled the bill's trespass penalties overly harsh.

"This bill is designed to have a chilling effect on people's right to peaceful protest," Ms Wright said in a statement.

Read more HERE.

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Farm trespass bill criticised as protest crackdown

Media coverage: The Guardian

New law will punish unlawful entry on ‘enclosed lands’ with up to three years in jail and fines of $22,000.

Pauline Wright, the president of the NSW Civil Liberties Council, said the new law was unnecessary and the wording too broad.

Wright said that existing laws against trespass already dealt with the issue adequately. The government had earlier increased the penalty from $550 to $5,500 in 2016.

“I can’t see the purpose of these new laws,” she said. “The existing laws already criminalise the behaviour that is targeted by this. It seems to just be grandstanding on the part of the politicians.

“We of course don’t like the notion of anyone entering on private land and acting unlawfully, and that shouldn’t be condoned. And it’s not. The law already adequately deals with that. Imposing tougher penalties won’t do anything. All the research indicates this does not act as a deterrent.”

Read more HERE.

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NSW farm trespass bill a crackdown on the right to protest

A New South Wales farm trespass bill has been criticised by civil liberties organisations, environment groups and unions for turning into “a crackdown on people’s rights to protest”.

The Right to Farm Bill 2019, currently before the NSW parliament, can punish unlawful entry and disruption on “inclosed lands” with up to three years in jail, and increases the fine from $5,500 to $22,000.

Pauline Wright, the president of the NSW Civil Liberties Council, said the new law was unnecessary and the wording too broad.

“These laws, although they are expressed to be talking about people coming onto farmlands and disturbing farmers going about their business, in fact they apply to any lands that are by definition enclosed … It is a crackdown on people’s rights to protest.”

Wright said that existing laws against trespass already dealt with the issue adequately. The government had earlier increased the penalty from $550 to $5,500 in 2016.

“I can’t see the purpose of these new laws,” she said. “The existing laws already criminalise the behaviour that is targeted by this. It seems to just be grandstanding on the part of the politicians.

“We of course don’t like the notion of anyone entering on private land and acting unlawfully, and that shouldn’t be condoned. And it’s not. The law already adequately deals with that. Imposing tougher penalties won’t do anything. All the research indicates this does not act as a deterrent.”

Read The Guardian article - NSW farm trespass bill criticised for turning into a crackdown on the right to protest

 

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