Challenges in establishing a federal integrity commission - Melbourne University

Our president Pauline Wright spoke to the 'Administrative Challenges in Practice' class at Melbourne University on the 30th of March 2022 discussing the challenges in establishing a federal integrity commission.

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Speech: The need for a Federal ICAC from a civil liberties perspective

A transcript of NSWCCL President Pauline Wright's speech to the National Press Council on 1 December 2021.

As a civil liberties organisation, NSWCCL has in the past expressed serious reservations about anti-corruption agencies sitting outside the established justice system and wielding extraordinary coercive and covert powers. But we have cautiously shifted our position in response to the growing threat that increasingly complex forms of corruption pose to the public good in Australia. If the public interest is to be protected against the corrosive effects of serious lapses in integrity and systemic corruption, NSWCCL acknowledges that the establishment of anti-corruption agencies equipped with extraordinary investigative powers – albeit with proper constraints and safeguards – is both necessary and proportionate.

Corruption undermines the integrity of our political system. It distorts the policy-making process, diverts resources from public good objectives and undermines public trust in our politicians, governing institutions and public administration. Corruption harms everyone. It breeds inequality and injustice and undermines the ability of governments and people to fulfil their potential to achieve the common good, especially in challenging times.

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Rule of Law webathon

Black Lives Matter - an Australian perspective

NSWCCL hosted Australia's contribition to the International Rule Of Law Webathon on Weds 5 May 2021. You can view our session with others from around the world on YouTube here:


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NSWCCL 2020 Fundraiser: First Nations justice webinar

NSWCCL’s online First Nations justice panel discussion was held on 11 September 2020, and featured Judge Myers AM, Sarah Hopkins, Teela Reid and NSWCCL President Nicholas Cowdery AO QC. Our panelists generously shared their knowledge, expertise and heart in speaking about over-incarceration of Indigenous Australians, systemic racism, 'just' policing, the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the black lives matter movement.

The panel discussion was a call to action in relation to the implementation of the recommendations of the ALRC’s report “Pathways to Justice”, including a focus on the crucial need for a commitment to justice reinvestment and specialty courts (such as the Walama Court in NSW).

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Webinar: The Case for a Human Rights Act for NSW

This webinar was presented by NSWCCL, the Affinity Intercultural Foundation and the Whitlam Institute on Wednesday 2nd September 2020.

Featuring Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow President of Law Council Australia Pauline Wright, the webinar was facilitated by Dr Graham Thom, Refugee Coordinator Amnesty International Australia.

The pursuit of Assange - politically motivated and unjust

NSWCCL recently joined other organisations and individuals in reaffirming our support for Julian Assange in the context of his fight against extradition to the USA. We spoke at the Assange rally in Sydney in February and subsequently sent a public letter to the Prime Minister urging the Australian Government to take effective action to support Assange in his fight against extradition and assist his return to Australia.

Assange’s situation is desperate and dangerous. His mental and physical health have been seriously compromised. He is imprisoned in a London gaol with limited capacity to communicate with his legal team. If he is extradited to the USA, he will face charges which will expose him to a likely outcome of life imprisonment in a high security gaol.

The relentless pursuit of Julian Assange over the last decade has been politically motivated, cruel and unjustifiable.  In our view he has not engaged in criminal activity. Assange and wikileaks published truthful information about shocking and wrongful activities - including war crimes - which had been kept secret. 

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Anti-protest bill update - community outrage grows

The outrageous Inclosed Lands, Crimes and Law Enforcement Legislation Amendment (Interference) Bill 2016– better know as the ‘anti-protest’ bill-  will be further debated in the NSW Legislative Council today.

This bill is a deliberate Government attack on the right to public assembly and public protest in NSW and proposes unwarranted and dangerous expansions of discretionary police powers.

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NSWCCL defends free speech and right of dissent on USyd campus

Speech delivered by NSWCCL President Stephen Blanks to Staff and Student Meeting - Defend USYD Civil Liberties at the University of Sydney on Wednesday 29 April 2015.

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to elders past and present.

It is pleasing to see concern about civil liberties as a central issue at the University of Sydney. The NSW Council for Civil Liberties has had strong links with the University since our foundation in 1963.

NSWCCL is joining this meeting today because we are concerned that the University reacting in a disturbingly disproportionate way to the incidents which occurred at the Colonel Richard Kemp lecture on 11 March 2015. 

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50th Anniversary - other speeches

Also at our 50th Anniversary dinner:

Cameron Murphy, CCL life member and former President, introduces the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG


The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG addresses the 50th Anniversary Dinner via video


CCL Secretary Lesley Lynch responds to Carolyn Simpson

50th Anniversary - Stephen Blanks

Stephen Blanks - new CCL President honours the founders and introduces the Hon Justice Carolyn Simpson.

A transcript of the speech is also below: