NSWCCL Submissions

Submission: Public Interest Disclosures Bill

On 1 November 2021, NSWCCL made a submission to the Inquiry into the Public Interest Disclosures Bill 2021. The Bill re-writes protection for public officials who blow the whistle on wrongdoing, following a 2017 Joint Parliamentary Committee review that recommended a complete rewrite of the existing legislation.

NSWCCL endorses the Bill, which we note adopts nearly all the recommendations from the 2017 report, while noting some shortcomings.

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Submission: Review into Division 105A of the Criminal Code

NSWCCL and the Sydney Institute of Criminology have made a joint submission expressing concern about the Commonwealth’s continuing detention scheme for terrorist offenders and its lack of compatibility with human rights law and fundamental principles of criminal law.

We argue that serious consideration should be given as to whether the scheme is necessary. If the scheme is to continue, we argue that the scheme should be amended in substantial ways to enhance (to the extent possible) its compatibility with human rights law.

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Submission: NSWCCL endorses Constitutional Alteration to enshrine freedom of expression

On 20 August, NSWCCL made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee in regard to the Inquiry into the Constitution Alteration (Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Press) 2019 (Constitutional Alteration).

The NSWCCL endorses wholeheartedly the proposed Constitutional Alteration which aims to enshrine the right of freedom of expression, including freedom of the press and other media, in the Constitution. This will be achieved by inserting a new Chapter IIIA and section 80A in the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900.

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NSWCCL Submission: Digital Identity Legislation Position Paper

On 16 July 2021, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties made a submission to the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) in regard to the public consultation on the Digital Identity Legislation Position Paper.

NSWCCL welcomes the codification of the DIS which will embed privacy safeguards in primary legislation not in a subordinate instrument. The DIS claims to include a number of privacy features. The effect and success of which will be known once the draft legislation is introduced. 1 Such features include voluntary participation, no single identifier, express consent and Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA) for accreditation. Despite these provisions, there are clear weaknesses. The rules, for example, will allow for the PIA to be conducted by an assessor from within the same entity as the applicant; hardly independent.

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Submission: The Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill 2020

NSWCCL has made a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security's Review of the Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill 2020.  

If passed, this bill would cripple the ability of litigants to have access to information that is critical for their cases for retaining a visa, becoming citizens or retaining their citizenship. While it protects the constitutionally guaranteed powers of the High Court, the Federal Court and the Federal Circuit Court to know whatever information is relevant to their reviews of ministerial decisions, it would prevent other courts and other bodies from having such access. And vitally, it not only would allow protected information to be concealed from litigants and their counsel, it would allow them to be denied even the information that such information exists. In effect, only the Minister could use the information in court. This is unacceptable. It is contrary to Australia’s international obligations. But most importantly, it is a severe intrusion on the rights of a person to a fair hearing. It overturns the basic legal principle of equality before the law.

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Submission: Privacy and Personal Information Protection Amendment Bill 2021

NSWCCL made a submission to the NSW Department of Communities and Justice Inquiry into the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Amendment Bill 2021.

This Bill

  1. proposes the creation of a mandatory notification of data breach scheme
  2. would extend the Act to include NSW State-Owned Corporations that are not already regulated by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
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Submission: National Health (Privacy) Rules 2018 Review

NSWCCL made a submission to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner's National Health (Privacy) Rules 2018 review 

  • The Review has been prompted by the sunsetting of the National Health Privacy Rules 2018, which apply to the processing and storage of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) claims information by Services Australia and the Department of Health. It will determine whether and how the Rules should be updated. 
  • NSWCCL considers that the Rules adequately protect the privacy of individuals and should not be amended. The Consultation Paper that accompanies the Review makes it clear that there is an emerging public policy approach “favouring data use and reuse in research, evidence-based decision making and the provision of government services generally.” NSWCCL does not accept that a technocratic approach to more convenient or efficient service-delivery and research policy warrants eroding the privacy safeguards in the Rules.
  • Within the last 5 years public perceptions of how data should be used and shared have changed. The expectations of a majority of Australians are in favour of more privacy protections over their information, not less. The latest Government survey of Australians’ privacy concerns shows 84% of Australians consider it to be a misuse of their information when supplied to an organisation for a specific purpose and then used for another purpose.
  • Public policy is served, under the Rules, by recognising that the information provided to the Department of Health and Services Australia is for the purpose of dealing with MBS and PBS claims and for no other secondary purpose. If there is any sensitive personal information provided to government that should not be used for secondary purposes, then, surely, this is that information. 
More information: read our full submission 

Submission: Inquiry into environmental planning instruments (SEPPs)

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the NSW Legislative Council Regulation Committee Inquiry into Environmental Planning Instruments (SEPPs).

NSWCCL makes this submission for a number of key reasons:

a. To ensure that adequate safeguards are in place for the creation of SEPPs in recognition that parliament is the supreme law making body in the state;

b. In recognition that the climate change poses a significant and increasing threat to the ability for citizens’ and others residents’ civil liberties and human rights, and that any decisions made which concern the environment should be appreciative of the adverse effects of climate change; and,

c. In recognition that First Nations communities voices should be recognised and afforded significant weight in the development of environmental and planning policy.

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Submission: Review of NSW Data Sharing (Government Sector) Act 2015

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Department of Customer Service in relation to the Review of the NSW Data Sharing (Government Sector) Act 2015.

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Submission: Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020 [Provisions] and Data Availability and Transparency (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2020

NSWCCL made a submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committees Inquiry into the Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020 [Provisions] and Data Availability and Transparency (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2020 [Provisions].

In our view, this Bill is fundamentally flawed and violates community expectations of how private personal information is treated.

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