Statement from Michael Cope, President of the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties, Josh Pallas, President of New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, and Michael Stanton as President of Liberty Victoria.
Our organisations support the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart – a generous call from First Nations peoples for voice, treaty and truth. We also continue to urge the Commonwealth to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which requires respect for self-determination. Whilst we acknowledge ongoing debate about whether the Voice is the optimal approach to enshrining First Nations representation in the Constitution, the Voice is the only opportunity currently open. If not taken, there is no guarantee any similar or alternate opportunities will present in the near future.Read more
Comments from Josh Pallas, President NSW Council for Civil Liberties.
"Calls in the media from politicians and public figures for police to have prohibited or closed down the Free Palestine Protest in Sydney yesterday are misplaced and fundamentally inconsistent with the right to protest which must be protected, not trashed."
"The exercise of this right should not be dependent on police approval. Non-violent protest is fundamental to democracy and should be allowed by right."
"Of course, politicians and public figures may publicly disagree with the content of a protest, however, is also an important democratic freedom. But it is wrong for them to call for a prohibition of the protest."
"Everyone should have the right to gather and convey political messages in non-violent protest. This right is essential to our democratic system of government. The right to protest has already been eroded enough in this State and politicians should not be given licence to erode it further on the basis of there being "good" and "bad" protest causes. Protest itself ought to be celebrated as enriching our democracy."
"Expression of hate speech, in whatever form it takes, is neither appropriate nor consistent with democratic values. Hate speech is not a legitimate exercise of free speech rights. Protestors should not engage in hate speech.”
Michael Koziol: NSW bureaucrats have apologised after rangers ordered Yes campaigners to stop distributing flyers and move on while canvassing support for the Indigenous Voice to parliament in Sydney’s CBD.
Civil liberties advocates raised concerns with Planning Minister Paul Scully after receiving reports that Placemaking NSW – which manages some of Sydney’s major public spaces – told Yes advocates they could not hand out material about the Voice.Read more
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) welcomes the long-overdue review of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977. In its nearly 50-year history, this legislation has had only one review, the recommendations of which were not fully implemented.
In our submission, the NSWCCL provides tangible recommendations that would ensure the Act is modernised to make it simpler and more efficient but also to ensure it reflects changing community attitudes.
Particularly concerning is the recently passed Religious Vilification Bill as an amendment to the Act. We believe that the Anti-Discrimination Act should protect individuals from vilification but not institutions and not beliefs, which are just ideas, and should be freely contestable. The Religious Vilification Bill unacceptably impedes on freedom of expression, debate, and legitimate criticism and should be immediately repealed.Read more
The NSW police have had four fatal interactions with people in as many months, with the tragic death of Krista Kach death being the most recent. Almost half of all deaths or serious injuries in NSW police operations are linked to mental
Responding to mental health crises is a health issue that requires a health focused approach. Mental health professionals should be at the forefront of providing services to people in mental health distress, including those who pose a risk of harm to themselves or others.Read more
On September 20th, NSW Council for Civil Liberties celebrated its 60th birthday, with over 250 people in attendence including NSW Supreme Court judges, solicitors and barristers in the community sector and private firms, journalists and activists.
The event was MCed by Meredith Burgmann, a former Labor president of the New South Wales Legislative Council, and featured keynote speaker Craig Foster, a former Socceroo captain, former SBS journalist and author of Fighting for Hakeem, who criticised Australia’s growing inequality. “We cannot open any more coal and gas projects if we want to save our planet,” Foster said. “We need a just transition and we need it now. Our governments are not listening to us, so we need mass civil disobedience to stop them. Who will take part in this?”
The documentary Sixty Years Strong, remembering the councils history and honouring the activists who founded the Council, was also launched.Read more
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