Policy: 1971 Brief

TREAT DRUG USE AS A HEALTH PROBLEM

CM. 19.5.71.

'That present powers relating to drug use, rather than trafficking or importing, etc., be transferred to relevant health authorities and removed from the jurisdiction of police forces.'

CENSORSHIP

AGM. 23.10.71.

'That all legal restraints hitherto placed upon the advertising of contraceptive information be removed, and in particular the references thereto in Section 3 of the Obscene and Indecent Publications Act be repealed.

CHILD WELFARE

Statement adopted by Committee (24th February 1971).

Under the Child Welfare Act, a child or young person (16-18 years) may be committed to an institution either for a specific term not exceeding 3 years, or generally. In the latter case, apart from a right of appeal within 21 days, a parent has no rights and the Minister's discretion is absolute. Representations should be made for an amendment to the Act in order to permit a court to review a refusal by the Minister to discharge a child under Section 54(2) against whom a general committal order has been made.

CLUTHA COMPANY

Statement adopted by Committee (7th April 1971).

By the Clutha Development Pty. Limited Agreement Act 1970, the company has been granted almost sovereign power in certain areas. The company is free from objections and appeals which would otherwise be available to members of the public if those powers were exercised by the usual statutory authorities. The powers granted to Clutha Development Pty. Limited are so wide and the rights of persons otherwise entitled to object, appeal or be informed, so drastically circumscribed that the Act amounts to an invasion of civil liberty.

CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES

CM. 19.5.71.

'The Committee should give high priority to making definite and specific its general intention, already declared, to press for the incorporation of guarantees of freedom in the Australian Constitution. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948 but this has never been ratified by Australia. It is the Council for Civil Liberties' policy to press for the ratification of this Declaration of Human Rights.'

DRUGS

CM. 19.5.71.

'That present powers relating to drug use, rather than trafficking or importing, etc., be transferred to relevant health authorities and removed from the jurisdiction of police forces.'

INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES

CM. 19.5.71.

In industrial disputes, it is important to preserve two rights:

  1. the right of a trade union or group of workers to go on strike and to engage in peaceful picketing;
  2. the right of any employee to continue working without undue intimidation.

LEGAL AID

CM. 19.5.71.

'Legal Aid should be extended to indigent persons appearing in Courts of Petty Sessions and Children's Courts on criminal charges.'

N.B. Since May 1975 in New South Wales the Legal Aid Department of the Law Society has provided legal representation for all young persons and juveniles appearing before Children's Courts, or on appeal the refrom, anywhere in the State, except for those summonsed for an alleged offence under the Motor Traffic Act.

PARLIAMENTARY INVESTIGATIONS AND ENQUIRIES

CM. 29.9.71.

'Whilst not denying the inherent right of parliaments to investigate and enquire into matters of public importance and concern, the Council for Civil Liberties is of the view that parliaments should lay down formal rules and procedures for conducting such investigations and enquiries in order to protect and safeguard the basic rights of persons appearing as witnesses and persons against whom allegations are made in the investigation.'

POLITICAL PARTIES

CM. 29.9.71.

That the Council for Civil Liberties is opposed to making illegal any political party.

PRISONS, PRISONERS AND PRISON REFORM

CM. 19.5.71.

'That prisoners, whilst in custody, wherever possible, be given the opportunity to work at award rates subject to a reasonable deduction for their maintenance.'

CM. 30.6.71.

'That we support the move for a Royal Commission on the Bathurst Gaol allegations.'