NSWCCL in the media

Joint Statement: Civil Rights Groups Condemn Police Repression of Port Botany Rally

NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Human Rights Law Centre and Australian Democracy Network
are deeply concerned about the heavy-handed police repression of a peaceful protest near
Port Botany yesterday evening.

The protest, organised by Unionists for Palestine, consisted of a group of about 400, with
children and elderly people in attendance, making speeches and marching. Police did not allow
the protest to march on the road and instead directed it onto a roadside path leading to Sirius
Rd near the entrance of Port Botany. No vehicles were attempting to enter via this road during
this time.

When the protest paused near this driveway and protestors were peacefully sitting on the
ground, police issued move on orders and began arresting attendees. Legal observers and
others on the scene did not witness a reason being given for the move on orders.

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NSWCCL: The Right to Protest must be protected

NSW Council for Civil Liberties was born out of a protest movement in 1963 and we continue to honour the legacy of the Council’s members who fought against police brutality and for equal rights. Our proud history is built around grassroots action.

Today, we proudly stand beside over sixty civil liberty and human rights organisations that have endorsed the “Declaration of our Right to Protest” which has been developed by the Human Rights Law Centre and in consultation with activists and advocates from around the country.

Sign the petition here.

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Sydney Criminal Lawyers: Expanding the Offence of Hate Speech Will Unjustifiably Impede Free Speech

This week the NSW government revealed its consideration of a revision to hate speech laws. The existing criminalization of hate speech, implemented in 2018, has not led to a single conviction, which Premier Chris Minns sees it as a flaw in the legislation.

The issue of hate speech has gained prominence in recent weeks due to the aftermath of the extensive massacre of over 11,000 Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli state. The Israeli government's intentions have been condemned, while Western allies observe without intervention.

This concern was brought to light when an antisemitic chant briefly broke out during a pro-Palestinian rally at the Sydney Opera House on October 9. The rally aimed to protest the premier's decision to project the Israeli flag onto the building in commemoration of the October 7 killing of over 1,300 Israelis by Hamas.

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Media Statement: We owe our children a viable future

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties has made a submission to the Duty of Care Bill (Climate Change Amendment - Duty of Care and Intergenerational Climate Equity Bill 2023) inquiry.

Australia’s climate change framework currently leaves the Commonwealth unable to properly manage the development of emissions intensive activities. We need decision makers to be compelled to consider the health and wellbeing of current and future children when determining what is acceptable.

We are making our submissions on this Bill on the same day as the “School Students 4 Climate Strike” and are proud to endorse and support the voices of young people on this issue. The Council supports this Bill, and we urge the Commonwealth Government to support it as well.

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City Hub: NSW Government sets in place new religious vilification laws

The NSW Government has recently implemented new legislation that prohibits the act of vilification based on religious belief, affiliation, or activity. The Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act 2023 amends the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, making it illegal to, through a public act, incite hatred, serious contempt, or severe ridicule towards an individual or group due to their religious beliefs, affiliation, or activities.

The term 'public act' encompasses any form of verbal and non-verbal public communication or conduct.

These amendments complement the existing laws that already prohibit vilification based on race, homosexuality, transgender status, and HIV/AIDS status.

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Guardian Aus: Free speech advocates at odds with faith groups over NSW hate speech law overhaul

Tamsin Rose: A move to overhaul the law criminalising hate speech in New South Wales following clashes across Sydney amid community tensions over the Israel-Hamas war has sparked debate over the limits of freedom of speech.

The NSW premier, Chris Minns, this week ordered a review of the 2018 law that made it a crime to threaten or incite violence based on race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, because to date crimes under the laws had never been successfully prosecuted.

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Media Statement: Hate Speech Laws are already strong enough

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) is concerned regarding media reports today that the Premier is moving to tighten the NSW Crimes Act seemingly in response to lobbyists from faith-based organisations.  

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Star Observer: Push To Revoke Mandatory Disease Testing for NSW Workers

In a recent submission by the NSW Council of Civil Liberties (NSWCCL), the Council called for the repeal of the Mandatory Disease Testing Act 2021, citing its impracticality and potential discriminatory impact within the healthcare system. On the 10th of November, NSWCCL confirmed that the NSW Ombudsman received their request to remove the Act in its entirety. 
The act was first introduced in 2022, and requires all healthcare, emergency or public sector workers who have been in contact with bodily fluids to receive a mandatory disease test. This act was implemented to protect workers from blood borne viruses (BBVs), but has been criticised for being unnecessary and further stigmatising HIV.
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yahoo!news: Council sacks deputy mayor over anti-Israel stance

Ludovico Fabiano, a deputy mayor representing Waverley Council, home to one of Australia's largest Jewish populations, has been sacked after backing a move to condemn Israel's bombing of Gaza.

Recently, Waverley Council voted on a motion to condemn the attack on Israeli civilians by Hamas and give $10,000 to Jewish community organisations in their area. Ludovico Fabiano attempted to amend a motion about the Israel-Gaza conflict to call out "war crimes" by Israel but was voted out of his position during a public meeting on Thursday evening.

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Honi Soit: Puff, puff, pass: What does cannabis legalisation mean for student communities?

In the build up to Labor’s overhaul of the current state Drug Law system NSW recently introduced a two-strike system. Under this scheme, people caught with drugs of any form might be fined approximately $400 up to two times depending on the severity of their conduct and then made to undergo a compulsory training after which their fines will be wiped out. The failure to reform behaviour after the training means that the person will have to pay the required fees. 

While this system reduces the number of people charged under criminal law, it still does not remove all of the criminal connotations and surveillance power over the communities. 

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