Policy: 1973 Brief


AGM, October 1973.

'That the administrators of public hospitals should seek to avoid a situation where women requesting a termination of pregnancy are interviewed by doctors who are opposed to termination of pregnancy on moral or religious grounds or who believe that termination should only be permitted in cases of extreme emergency. We are of the view that women should be entitled to have their request considered free of any moral prejudice in the doctor. Equally, any member of the staff of a hospital, either nurse or doctor, who is opposed to assisting in a termination of pregnancy should be free of any form of compulsion to assist in a termination against that person's preference or will.'


CM. 28.3.73.

'The compilation of dossiers on individuals is prima facie a breach of civil liberties and as such must be closely scrutinised. The minimal form of scrutiny shall be firstly that A.S.I.O. be under the direct control of and directly accountable to the federal Attorney- General and/or the Prime Minister and that no information be released by A.S.I.O. to any person, government department, instrumentality or otherwise, other than the Attorney-General and/or the Prime Minister.'

Council for Civil Liberties evidence to Senate Select Committee on Civil Rights of Migrant Australians (5th September 1973).

There is a strong case to be made out in favour of disbanding A.S.I.O. or at the very least of instituting an independent inquiry into the objectives, methods and efficiency of the organisation and into the social and educational background of its staff.


CM. 19.9.73.

No action for defamation should be at the suit of any person who takes part in public affairs, public activities or public debate for a statement (even if it be substantially untrue) relating to that person's participation in such affairs, activities or debate, unless the plaintiff proves that the statement was made with reckless disregard of whether it was true or false. Further, that absolute privilege should be extended to cover:

  1. enquiries conducted under the authority of any Parliament in Australia;
  2. statements made by members of local government councils at council meetings; and that the offences of criminal libel and blasphemous libel should be abolished.


Annual General Meeting (October 1973).

'That there should be no discrimination against homosexuals on the basis of their homosexuality and that State and Commonwealth governments should act to ensure full and substantive equality to homosexuals. In particular, the relevant sections of the Crimes and Summary Offences Acts should be amended; economic discrimination against homosexuals, for example in employment, should be eliminated. There should be strict controls over medical experimentation on human guinea pigs and that the raping of male homosexuals in jails should be stopped, perhaps by segregating them for their own protection. The Council for Civil Liberties considers that a Commonwealth governmental inquiry should be established with judicial powers to report upon ways of ensuring such equality. Any such enquiry should include amongst its members both male and female homosexuals.'


CM. 17.10.73.

'The compilation (and administration) of jury lists should be taken out of the hands of the police; and Public Service employees should be allowed to sit on a jury.'


Statement adopted by Committee (31st January 1973).

A litigant should be entitled to a free copy of depositions of evidence and the judgment of his case.


Council for Civil Liberties evidence to Senate Select Committee on Civil Rights of Migrant Australians (5th September 1973).

There may well be good cause for the police to suspect that some individuals or organisations have engaged in terrorist or other illegal activity, and of course, the police are bound to act upon any reliable information in their possession concerning that. This does not excuse the manner in which the police carried out dawn raids on 68 or so homes of members of the Croatian community in New South Wales on 1st April 1973.


CM. 30.5.73.

'That all persons charged with criminal offences (should) have the right to private and privileged communications and conferences with their lawyers irrespective of whether they are already serving a sentence of imprisonment.

CM. 25.7.73.

'The State and Federal Public Service should not discriminate against job applicants on the grounds f a criminal conviction where the nature of the conviction has no relevance at the time of the application to the position applied for. Should a convicted person be refused employment by the Public Service the applicant should be given the right to appeal to an independent tribunal.'


CM. 21.11.73.

Greater safeguards for the privacy of citizens are undoubtedly desirable, but the Council for Civil Liberties doubts whether they can be best achieved by setting up a committee rather than by legislation. For example, we believe that there is a need for amendment of the Listening Devices Act, which gives undue authority to the Police Force to use bugging devices. Full details concerning the proposed New South Wales Government Committee on Privacy have not yet been made public. However, the Premier states that the Committee would:

  1. operate to prevent undesirable disclosures by, or between, departments and authorities;
  2. investigate relationships between government bodies and the public and the media. Unless these matters are very carefully defined freedom of the press and freedom of information could be jeopardised.

Annual General Meeting (October 1973).

'That the Council is concerned at the threat to personal liberties presented by the use, centralisation and cross-linkage of computer files on individuals, by commercial, medical, law, law enforcement agencies, government departments and instrumentalities, education and credit-control bodies.'