Submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee Inquiry into the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Above the Line Voting) Bill 2013 - December 2013
Reform is clearly imperative and the Committee has responded with a strong and sensible set of recommendations. Most importantly, it recommends a move to optional preferential above the line voting, partial optional preferential voting below the line and the abolition of group and individual voting tickets. Together these two reforms will remove the major distorting factors by making it easier for voters to cast a vote that reflects their preferences.
The NSWCCL believes that the establishment of an independent body to oversee investigations into critical incidents involving police is paramount. The European Court of Human Rights has enunciated five key principles of effective investigation: independence, adequacy, promptness, sufficient public scrutiny and next-of-kin involvement. The NSWCCL believes that this Review should recommend the adoption of these principles in the final model.
"Given the high incidence of surveillance resulting in no ‘relevant information,’ the Council for Civil Liberties is of the view that the Attorney-General should recommend to Parliament that s.52 be amended. The Council recommends that the Act be amended so that issuing authorities can prospectively require a law enforcement agency to report to targets about the use of past surveillance where: (a) no information relevant to a prosecution is found; and (b) it is the second attempt against the same target that has resulted in no information useful to a prosecution being gathered (whether the warrant was issued in respect of the same or a different offence)."
"It has never been more important that lawful surveillance and intrusions upon privacy, which a democratic nation determines to be necessary and proportionate for its security, are subject to strong independent oversight, accountability and maximum transparency.
The amendments proposed in this Bill, if enacted, will provide a significant strengthening of these protections."
Submission on the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013 - April 2013
"Both world-wide historically and in Australia in recent times there has been much discrimination and worse against LGBTI people.1 Unlike, say religious or political views, people cannot change such characteristics (and if they could, they should not be expected to). Though some protection is provided by State and Territory legislation, the provisions vary between these jurisdictions, and their coverage is restricted. The bill will contribute to an improvement in LGBTI persons' situation. We urge its speedy passage--as an important measure until a revised Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill is introduced."
NSWCCL recently appeared before the New South Wales Legislative Council Standing Committee on Law and Justice to give evidence relating to the inquiry into racial vilification law in NSW. A supplementary submission has been made in response to questions posed during the committee hearing, providing more detailed discussion than possible at the hearing.
Submission to Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on Federal Court Fee increases since 2010 - April 2013
"All persons must, as a matter of their civil rights, have the capacity to access the Federal Court regardless of their financial situation or other means. In addition, the fees associated with accessing the Federal Court must not act as a material detriment to their accessing the court if they judge that doing so is an appropriate course of action."
Submission on the Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 - April 2013
"the proposals in the bill have the potential to impact greatly on many Australians, young and old alike, who do not necessarily possess any criminal intent, without providing sufficient nexus to the more serious offences the bill aims to prevent."
Submission to the Legislative Council Standing Committee's inquiry into Racial vilification law in NSW - March 2013
NSWCCL believes that the sections under review have failed to legitimately criminalise serious racial vilification. Further, it is possible to reform the legislation to be more effective, whilst also maintaining the right to free speech.
"We have considered the clauses carefully. We cannot support the proposed legislation... CCL holds therefore that legislation which is to operate extra-jurisdictionally outside Australia should be confined to matters where the United Nations has mandated such extrajurisdictional operation in an international treaty."