'That the question of capital punishment is a matter of civil liberties; that the Committee of the Council for Civil Liberties is opposed to capital punishment.'
Request to Minister for Customs reported in Newsletter No. 9 (September 1966).
There should be removed from the Customs (Cinematograph Films) Regulations those sections which authorise the banning of a film which, in the opinion of the Censorship Board, "is likely to be offensive to the people of a friendly nation or to people of a part of the Queen's dominions"; or "depicts any matter the exhibition of which is undesirable in the public interest."
'Without entering into the political controversy surrounding the issue of Australian intervention in Vietnam, the Council for Civil Liberties disapproves of the addition of a bond to fines imposed in petty offences incurred in the course of peaceful demonstrations of legitimate views and considers this to be an undesirable pressure on citizens to refrain from so demonstrating their views.'
LAND RESUMPTION PROCEDURES
Letter to Minister for Public Works, quoted in Newsletter No. 8 (May 1966).
'The procedure provided for in the Local Government Act, whereby the owner of land intended to be resumed must be notified of the intention and given the opportunity to object before issue of the resumption notice, should be incorporated in the Public Works Act in relation to resumption under that Act.'
Letter to Minister for Local Government, quoted in Newsletter No. 8 (May 1966).
The Local Government Act should be amended to provide that notice of any building application (other than for purely internal purposes) be served upon all immediately adjoining owners and upon any other person whose interests would, in the opinion of the local Council, be affected by the application. Such persons should be given the opportunity to oppose the application and, if the application is approved by the Council, have a right of appeal to the Land and Valuation Court of the Board of Appeals.
N.B. 'The Local Government Act has now been amended to require a Council to notify adjoining owners of the proposed erection of residential flats. It has also been amended to give private objectors the right of appeal against the Council decision in that regard but the later amendment has at the 1st September 1978 never been proclaimed. However, a number of Councils, both Shire and Municipal now adopt the policy of notifying adjoining neighbours and other persons likely to be affected in respect of any building application.'
POLICE (COMPLAINTS AGAINST)
Statement adopted by Committee (6th April 1966).
Complaints by members of the public against the police should be dealt with by an independent tribunal consisting of
- a judge;
- a senior officer of police appointed by the Commissioner;
- a lay person (not a member or ex-member of the Police Force) selected from a panel of five persons representative of various groups in the community, such persons to sit in rotation. Hearings should be in public, with both parties entitled to legal representation. The tribunal should have the same powers as a Royal Commission; provision for dismissal of frivolous or malicious complaints etc.
N.B. In September 1978 the Police Regulation (Allegations of Misconduct) Bill passed through all stages of the New South Wales Parliament.
RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION IN SCHOOLS
General Meeting (June 1966).
'That the Committee investigate and if thought fit protest against the New South Wales legislation in respect of the introduction of the Religious and Moral Instruction Curriculum.'
Quoted from newsletter No. 10 (1967).
Subsequently, the Committee received a report from a subcommittee to the effect that 'this teaching is undemocratic and undesirable and that it infringes a basic right of each member of the community to send his or her child to a public school without fear of indoctrination in any particular faith, and in the confidence that the school will provide his or her child with a full secular education untainted by religious dogma or belief. The Committee also formed the view that the part of this curriculum which deals with scripture was contrary to the spirit and letter of the Public Instruction Act from which it purports to be derived and further that it should be the subject of action by the Council with the Government.'