NSWCCL in the media

Media Statement: NSW Government must introduce free and accessible pill testing now!

The recent spate of suspected MDMA overdoses at the Hardmission event in Flemington, Victoria, resulting in eight individuals being placed in medically induced comas, has reignited the urgent need for nationwide pill-testing programs.

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CityHub: “Only a partial win”: Supreme Court rules NSW anti-protest laws as constitutionally invalid

Earlier this week, the NSW Supreme Court ruled that NSW anti-protest laws are constitutionally invalid.

These laws were enacted last year in response to a climate protest that caused traffic disruptions, criminalizing activities that cause obstructions, partial closures, or redirections around various major facilities, and carry a maximum penalty of a $22,000 fine, imprisonment for two years, or both.

'Knitting Nannas' Dominique Jacobs and Helen Kvelde challenged these laws, arguing that they did not uphold the implied freedom of political communication in the Commonwealth Constitution.

The court found that these new laws were not justified when protest activity caused people to be redirected or caused a facility to be partially closed. Therefore, those parts of the laws were deemed invalid.

 

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CityHub: “Everyone has the right to seek asylum”: NSWCCL speaks out on preventative detention

On November 8, asylum seekers in immigration detention were released following a High Court ruling deeming indefinite immigration detention unlawful due to the 'NZYQ' case. This ruling resulted in the immediate release of 141 detainees.

Shortly after the court's legal justifications were made public, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil disclosed the Labor Party's intent to “finalise a tough preventive detention regime before parliament rises.”. The Albanese Government is currently proposing preventive detention laws to re-incarcerate individuals previously released, some of whom have been involved in serious offenses.

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) has expressed serious concerns with the government seeking to preventively detain refugees who were released in November.

 

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Australian: ANIC spokesman Bilal Rauf ‘appeals’ to NSW Liberals to withhold hate-speech amendment support

Alex Demetriadi: Australia’s peak imam body has urged the NSW opposition to withhold cross-party support for Premier Chris Minns’s plans that the government says will strengthen and “streamline” laws against religion-based violence and incitement given a rise of anti-Semitism since October 7.

However, the group have said they are not alone in sharing “concerns” that the proposals were being “rushed”.

On Monday, NSW Liberal leader Mark Speakman and his shadow front bench met with multi-religion group Faith NSW, where the main point of discussion between Mr Speakman’s team and faith leaders was the government’s proposed amendments to section 93Z of the state crimes act, which would “streamline” the process by dropping the need for police to seek Director of Public Prosecutions approval before tabling charges.

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Australian: MEAA backs Sydney Theatre Company actors amid The Seagull pro-Palestine scarf protest

Alex Demetriadi: The actors’ union has backed three cast members of the Sydney Theatre Company’s tentpole production of The Seagull who stood in solidarity with Palestine during the opening night’s encore, saying they’d support the trio if any action was taken.

On Sunday, The Australian revealed how three cast members of The Seagull – the Chekhov classic adapted for the STC’s latest run by playwright Andrew Upton, Cate Blanchett’s husband – wore traditional keffiyeh headdress during Saturday night’s encore in a “stance” of support for the “occupation of the Palestinian people”.

The STC later distanced itself from the stunt, with a spokeswoman saying it was not aware prior to the move and that it apologised for “any distress caused”.

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SMH: ‘Chilling effect’: Supreme Court overturns NSW’s tough anti-protest laws

The NSW Supreme Court has struck down part of a suite of tough anti-protest laws rushed through state parliament last year, ruling that criminalising activities that cause partial closures or redirections around ports and train stations was constitutionally invalid.

Climate change protesters Dominique Jacobs and Helen Kvelde, represented by the Environmental Defenders Office, launched a constitutional challenge last year to the new laws, which imposed a maximum penalty of a $22,000 fine, imprisonment for two years, or both.

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AAP: Minister, 97, among 109 arrested at port blockade

More than 100 climate protesters will face court, including a 97-year-old minister of religion, following a weekend blockade at Port of Newcastle.

This protest, beginning on Saturday morning, involved groups paddling into the shipping lane servicing the world’s largest coal port and demanding for the government stop allowing new coal projects, tax fossil fuel export profits at 75 per cent to fund community and industrial transition, and pay for climate loss and damage.

As the organised finishing time for the protest passed, groups remained in the water, resulting in a total of 109 arrests – 49 men, 60 women and five juvenile demonstrators. All have been charged with operating a vessel so as to interfere with others’ use of waters.

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City Hub: Police under fire after charging legal observers at climate change protest

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) has called on police to withdraw their charges against legal observers during a climate change protest in Newcastle over the weekend. 

Volunteers known as Legal Observers actively participate in protests to safeguard the rights of demonstrators and enhance police accountability. Although they can be invited to attend protests, Legal Observers operate independently and refrain from involvement in the protest itself or decisions related to its course.

Designated as Human Rights Defenders by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Legal Observers engage in tasks such as distributing information cards, educating individuals about their legal rights, and documenting interactions through note-taking, photography, or videography.

During the recent weekend climate protest, organised by climate change activist organization, Rising Tide, Legal Observers were easily identifiable in pink high-visibility vests bearing the words "Legal Observer" in prominent black letters and openly communicated their presence and role to the police. Despite this, they faced charges for doing nothing further than what was within their role as Legal Observers.

This incident is not the first instance of Legal Observers being arrested while fulfilling their duties during protests.

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Pedestrian: More Than 100 Climate Change Protestors Have Been Arrested Under ‘Draconian’ NSW Laws

Climate protestors took to the waters of Newcastle Port on Saturday morning for a 32-hour rally orchestrated by the climate change activist organization Rising Tide. This protest had been prearranged, and the group had been granted permission by the police to occupy the waters until 4 pm on Sunday.

Activists aimed to stop the departure of coal exports from the city and bring attention to their demands including stopping approval for new coal projects, a 75% tax on profits from fossil fuel exports, and allocated funds for addressing climate loss and damage.

However, on Monday morning, law enforcement disclosed that they had apprehended 109 individuals, comprising 49 men, 60 women, and five minors, for remaining in the water beyond the 4 pm deadline.

Organisations including the NSW Council for Civil Liberties are calling on New South Wales Police to drop these charges.

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Media Statement: Joint Submission with Muslim Women Australia on Forced Marriage

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties (“the Council”) and Muslim Women Australia (“MWA”) have filed a joint submission into the New South Wales Review of Legal Protections against Forced Marriage.

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