Policy Brief 1993


(CM. 24.03.93)
That the CCL is totally opposed to the re-introduction of capital punishment.


Safe Sex material (AGM. 29/10/93)
The CCL condemns Virginia Chadwick's irresponsible censorship of safe sex material in the schools and asks that she rescind the appropriate decisions. Further that the Council should seek a meeting with Mrs Chadwick to discuss this subject.


Unsworn Dock Statement (CM. 25.8.93)
CCL supports the retention of the unsworn statements.


Defendant Representation (AGM. 28.07.93)
The Council states that all persons charged with criminal offences, summary or indictable shall have competent legal representation subject to means.


Smoking (AGM. 29.10.93)
This Council believes that any individual's liberty should only be curtailed when it impinges on the liberties of others. We do not oppose the sale of tobacco products to adults. It is a person's right to use any legal substance, but the context of use should be dependent on the comfort of others. Smoking should only be allowed where there is no possibility of passive smoking causing harm or discomfort to others. The onus should be on the smoker to prove no discomfort or irritation to non-smokers. We support the decision of institutions to declare enclosed public areas smoke free. Similarly we support the right of private ownership to declare 'smoking permissible'; areas providing such areas are well signposted.


Ownership & Possession (AGM. 28.04.93)
Ownership and possession of firearms are not rights under Australian law, nor under the international human rights convention - nor should they be. Legal possession of a firearm is a privilege granted to individuals which should be subject to strict regulation. Procedural aspects of the enforcement of firearm laws may at times raise civil liberties concerns, but having a firearm is not in itself a civil right.


Right to Strike (AGM. 29.10.93)
That the right of employees to go on strike - that is, to withdraw their labour - is fundamental in a free society, as is recognised in a Convention of the International Labour Organisation, to which Australia is a signatory. The CCL therefore calls for the unqualified embodiment of this right in Australian law. As a first step, the provision in Section 45 of the Trade Practices Act which sanctions harsh fines for trade unions engaged in strikes should be repealed and there should be no such provision in other industrial legislation.


Privilege (22.9.93)
The proposed privilege for journalists should be virtually absolute. There may be a case for over-riding the privilege in exceptional circumstances, but those circumstances should be carefully limited and defined e.g. if concealing the source increases the likelihood of a person being convicted of a criminal offence. Courts determining actions in such matters should have very clear guidelines in legislation.

Suicide (20.10.93)
It was noted that the Tele-Mirror had published details of the names of people who had suicided. That CCL should complain to the Telegraph and to the Press Council.


Committee Meeting (20.10.93)
That CCL notes with concern that the NSW Police Association apparently believes that its members are laws unto themselves. Policemen need to be reminded that laws are made by elected parliaments and that the job of the Police is to uphold laws, not defy them. The CCL feels strongly that a thorough investigation into the administration and operation of the Police Service is long overdue. The Service is out of control and the Commissioner, Mr Lauer, appears to be singularly ill-informed of what some of the police under his command are up to, from corruption to alleged supply of firearms and drugs to the underworld. It is not enough to have a parliamentary inquiry into these matters. A Commission, including nominees of community-based bodies, should be established for the purpose. The Council for Civil Liberties would be happy to participate.

AGM (29.10.93)
As Mr Lauer, the Police Commissioner, has shown that he cannot control the police force, the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties Inc calls for his removal from office. Further, we assert that a Minister for Police who asserts that the NSW Police Service headed by Mr Lauer is 'the finest police service in the world'; should be relieved of his portfolio.

Premature Publicity by Police (20.10.93)
It was noted that the press witnessed the arrest of two people who were only charged by the National Crime Commission. CCL is appalled by the release of names or photos of people who have not been found guilty.

Extra Powers (25.8.93)
CCL objection to extra powers being given to police in the proposed alteration to legislation on Domestic Violence.