On Thursday, in a blatant and cynical attempt to avoid transparency, the Government introduced a Bill that gives National Cabinet the status of a 'Cabinet' - meaning that the PMO can now keep its deliberations secret. This nullifies a recent finding by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) that the ‘National Cabinet’ was not a cabinet in any real sense of the word, so key documents should be released.Read more
The Guardian reports on an app being trialled in South Australia that uses facial recognition and geolocation to enforce home quarantine during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our Secretary Michelle Falstein told the Guardian that the lack of primary legislation underpinning apps of this kind has made it difficult to assess how privacy concerns are managed, how long data is being kept, who it’s shared with, and how it is stored.Read more
NSWCCL and the Sydney Institute of Criminology have made a joint submission expressing concern about the Commonwealth’s continuing detention scheme for terrorist offenders and its lack of compatibility with human rights law and fundamental principles of criminal law.
We argue that serious consideration should be given as to whether the scheme is necessary. If the scheme is to continue, we argue that the scheme should be amended in substantial ways to enhance (to the extent possible) its compatibility with human rights law.Read more
NSWCCL is increasingly concerned about the impact on detainees in our immigration detention facilities of current quarantine arrangements. In particular, the treatment of people who return to detention centres after medical appointments is unacceptable.
- They are confined in small rooms for a fortnight.
- There is nothing in the room except a bed, an open toilet and a wash basin.
- The windows are tinted, so detainees cannot see out.
- There is no access to personal possessions.
- No reading material is available - not even a Bible, Torah or Koran.
- There's no exercise outside of the room.
- A change of under clothes may not be available for several days.
- There is a buzzer to call for attention, but people may have to wait for a lengthy period for a response.
In a welcome landmark victory in the NSW Land and Environment Court today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been ordered to take action on climate change. This is the first time a government organisation has been compelled to act on climate change in accordance with a statutory duty in Australia.
The court found that the EPA's statutory duties include a duty to develop objectives, guidelines and policies to ensure the protection of the environment from climate change, and that it had not fulfilled its duty to protect the state’s environment.
It may come as a surprise to many that the EPA currently does not have specific policies in place to mitigate greenhouse gas pollution, one of the most dangerous forms of pollution in the long term.Read more
The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) is concerned that the two major parties have joined together to limit the ability of smaller political parties to register under electoral laws. In a healthy democracy, established major parties should encourage the registration of smaller parties within reasonable and proportionate limits to enhance the contest of ideas, not seek to maintain their duopoly.Read more
Until recently, NSW had seen very few COVID cases in prisons. But that has changed, with Croakey Health Media reporting on Monday that:
"In response to queries from Croakey, NSW justice officials last week confirmed seven (including one staff member) COVID-19 cases in prisons and juvenile justice facilities, the highest number in a justice jurisdiction since the pandemic began, according to international advocacy group Human Rights Watch."
This is of particular concern given the over-representation of Indigenous people in our prisons, coupled with their disproportionate COVID risk. NSWCCL is calling on the government to take urgent action, including:Read more
This Sydney Morning Herald article talks to people fined $1000 for eating outside. It quotes NSWCCL President Pauline Wright, who points out that the Police Commissioner's assurance to police that he wouldn't hold them accountable for wrongly issued fines is “tacit acknowledgement that the rules are difficult to understand.”
“If the police can’t be expected to fully understand them, and it’s their job, how are ordinary people expected to understand and comply as well?” Ms Wright said.Read more
According to coverage by the Guardian, a refugee who has lived in Bris for a decade, with permanent residency, was given five days to respond to notice of intent to cancel his visa. The issue? He was required to document his identity for his citizenship application, but there's no reliable way to do so.
We have written to the Minister for Immigration, Alex Hawke, for clarification - we hope to hear that the man's citizenship application has been accepted.
It is essential that the people of NSW be united in their drive to combat COVID-19 and have confidence in the measures imposed by government. There can be no doubt that properly calibrated temporary measures designed to reduce the spread of the virus are required.
But on grounds of overreach and disproportionality, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (CCL) is deeply concerned about the special powers to be given to the police, announced yesterday.
We are also concerned at the imposition of a curfew and limit of exercise to one hour per day on people within the 12 specified local government areas.Read more