NSWCCL in the media

Star Observer: What next for Queer Politics under the Albanese Government?

Josh Pallas, President NSWCCL, unpacks how things may look for queer politics under the Albanese Government. Before the election Prime Minister Albanese committed to reintroducing a form of protection for religious persons from discrimination, while at the same time protecting queer students from expulsion from schools. Labor’s policy platform speaks to strengthening anti-discrimination laws, not weakening them. But until we see the details of any proposed bill we won’t know whether queer rights are curtailed or removed in favour of religious rights.

For more information, read the full article.


Lawyers Weekly: NSW Local Court appoints 3 new magistrates

Three new magistrates have been appointed to the Local Court of NSW bringing with them almost 90 years’ worth of collective experience.

Aaron Tang, Don McLennan and Pauline Wright will be sworn in on 7, 8 and 9 June, respectively.

Attorney-General Mark Speakman said, “These appointees bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the NSW Local Court, having worked across a range of areas in legal practice.”

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) congratulated their former President, Ms Wright, on her appointment to the Local Court of NSW.

Josh Pallas was elected to take over Ms Wright’s position as President following her resignation.

“Pauline’s departure was unexpected and will be a great loss to NSWCCL. I have no doubt that she will prove to be an outstanding and compassionate Magistrate and will serve the citizens of our state well”, Mr Pallas said.

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LSJ: Former Law Society President appointed Local Court magistrate

Former President of the Law Society of NSW Pauline Wright will be sworn in as magistrate to the Local Court this month, as part of plethora of new appointments to the state’s busiest court system.

Wright, who is a Partner at PJ Donnellan & Co in Gosford, boasts a rich career and has been active in the areas of criminal justice, anti-terrorism and asylum seeker policy. Wright was president of the Law Society of NSW in 2017, having served on the Council since 1997. She has also held the office of President of the Law Council of Australia, and President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

The NSWCCL congratulated Wright on her appointment and thanked her for her long service and organisation. Wright’s election as President in 2019 made history for NSWCCL as the second only woman to be elected to the office since the organization was founded in 1963.

“Pauline’s departure was unexpected and will be a great loss to NSWCCL. I have no doubt that she will prove to be an outstanding and compassionate Magistrate and will serve the citizens of our state well,” Wright’s successor Josh Pallas said.

For more information, read the full article.


Honi Soit: What are the details of the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill?

NSW has become the last state to legalise voluntary assisted dying (VAD) after a landmark bill passed the lower house on the 20th of May. The bill will allow people with a terminal diagnosis to access voluntary assisted dying, subject to a set of legislated safeguards.

The passage of the bill saw a slew of amendments proposed by its opponents in the upper house. The filibuster attempt included a failed amendment to allow aged care facilities to ban residents from accessing voluntary assisted dying.

The right to access VAD has been endorsed by organisations like the Dying with Dignity NSW, Go Gentle Australia, the NSW Nurses & Midwives’ Association, the NSW Council on the Aging, ACON and the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

For more information, read the full article. 


Sydney Criminal Lawyers: Federal Parties and Independents on How They Plan to Uphold Civil Liberties

The close to a decade that the federal Coalition has been in power has seen an ever-increasing authoritarian creep, Sydney Criminal Lawyers reports. 

Australia is a nation that is increasing repressions against First Nations, provides no rights guarantees to all, tortures and punishes refugees, subjects women to inequity and violence, increasingly surveils its public, promotes opaque government and is actively compounding the climate crisis for profit.

So, as a federal election is looming, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) considered it a prime time to check in with all the political parties and independents running in the national vote to inquire as to how they’ll approach these pressing issues over the next term of parliament.

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SBSNews: World's first program helps Australia's football players block online trolling

In a world-first partnership, the A-League and Professional Footballers Australia, the player’s union, have teamed up with a software company GoBubble Community to shield players from abuse across multiple social media platforms, SBSNews reports. 

The technology underwent a successful trial during the A-League’s inaugural pride games, hosted by Adelaide United in February. It meant players such as Josh Cavallo, the world's only active gay player, were shielded from seeing hateful comments on social media platforms.

Our former president Stephen Blanks couldn't see any civil liberties issues with the technology but when talking to SBSNews warned:

"There will be posts that are inadvertently blocked or let through and when an organisation like the A-league adopts this technology they should be very transparent as to how it works to give the public confidence that it will operate fairly."

For more information, read the full article. 


9News: New surveillance cars used to clock parking offences on Sydney streets

9News reports that new surveillance cars are being used in Sydney to detect parking violations. The vehicles are being touted by council authorities as the new frontier for parking penalties.

Instead of rangers chalking tires, they are driving cars fitted with special cameras that scan the number plates of vehicles. On their second run officers are then notified if a vehicle has overstayed parking time limits. The new surveillance has received a mixed reaction from locals.

When talking to 9News about the issue, our former president Stephen Blanks said:

"I don't think there is a general recognition of just how dangerous the level of surveillance we are all under can be,"

"People might think we have a good system, but we know things can go wrong."

For more information, read the full article. 

9News: 'Dark days for our democracy'. What the new protest laws in NSW mean

The introduction of new anti-protest legislation rushed through NSW Parliament last week has been described as "a dark day for democracy", 9News reports. 

The Roads and Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 could see protesters who cause disruption to major roads, ports and train stations fined up to $20,000 and jailed for two years.

Groups such as the Human Rights Law Centre, Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT), NSW Council for Civil Liberties and the Environmental Defenders Office have all come out in opposition of the bill.

For more information, read the full article. 


HRLC: Draconian new anti-protest law will hurt democracy in NSW

The passing of the Perrottet government’s new anti-protest law will undermine the ability of everyone in NSW to exercise their freedom to protest, a group of environmental, social justice and human rights organisations has warned.

The organisations slammed the bill, which was passed by the Legislative Council on Friday after being rushed through in less than a week.

The group, comprising the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT), the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Human Rights Law Centre, Environmental Defenders Office and Australian Democracy Network, expressed concern about the constitutional validity of the new law and called on the Perrottet government to repeal it.

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Guardian: Labor helps pass NSW bill targeting road-blocking protesters despite union opposition

The guardian reports that the NSW Labor party has helped pass a bill that could see protesters who block roads, ports or rail in the state spend up to two years in jail, despite outrage from unions and environmental groups.

"But a series of organisations including the Aboriginal Legal Service, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, the Human Rights Law Centre and the Environmental Defenders Office lined up to slam the legislation after it passed."

More information: read the full article.