A Swiss perspective on the friendlyjordies arrest:
"In Australia, politicians use anti-terror law to muzzle critics: an Australian comedian is currently experiencing first-hand how the anti-terror law can also be used."
NSWCCL Treasurer Stephen Blanks tells SRF that "we have a legal system which is weak on protecting legal rights and particularly weak on protecting free speech".
- Australien: «Die Polizei macht die Schmutzarbeit für die Politik» Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF) 2 Aug '21
- Are our media freedoms under attack? NSWCCL 27 July '21
NSWCCL notes with concern a request from NSW police for support from the Australian Defence Force to enforce COVID-19 restrictions. While the army has previously been used to enforce border restrictions and hotel quarantine, the use of the army to control citizens as they go about their daily lives is an unprecedented escalation.
This is a health crisis, not a national security crisis, and it must be approached as such. As noted by NSWCCL committee member Lydia Shelly in an article in the Guardian, the disproportionate policing of lower socio-economic areas that historically have a strained relationship with police is not the answer.Read more
The NSWCCL is calling for the disallowance of proposed regulations could that could prevent charities from engaging in important advocacy work.
The regulations would allow the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) to deregister an organisation if it “reasonably believes” its members are likely to commit a summary offence.
We echo concerns expressed by many charities that the regulations could empower the regulator to deregister a charity for attending or promoting protests where minor offences are committed without the charity's knowledge or involvement.Read more
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties is deeply concerned by the escalation in legal sanctions faced by journalists in the course of their work, as highlighted by the recent high profile Friendlyjordies case.
Friendlyjordies, or Jordan Shanks-Markovina, is a well known YouTuber and online commentator. In a number of videos, Shanks-Markovina is deeply critical of the Deputy Premier, John Barliaro, leading to a defamation case over two videos that John Barilaro alleged were part of a smear campaign against him.
In itself, this was troubling enough: a politician in an uncomfortable position may find that a defamation case provides a convenient shield against having to answer any further awkward questions. Meanwhile, defending such cases can be an extremely costly and time-consuming exercise, giving publications significant pause for thought before publishing strong critiques of people who might be inclined to sue. (For more, see NSWCCL on politicians and defamation).
But what came next was extraordinary.
Prompted by a complaint to police by Barilaro, Friendlyjordies producer Kristo Langker was arrested by the NSW Fixated Persons Investigations Unit (FPIU) and charged with stalking Barilaro.Read more
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties is deeply concerned by the tendency of Australian politicians to employ defamation law against journalists and critics. This behaviour has a significant potential chilling effect on freedom of expression, undermining our ability to hold politicians to account.Read more
This weekend saw some disturbing incidents playing out in Sydney during protests against the current lockdowns.
NSWCCL has reviewed some of the footage with concern.
We support the right to peaceful protest - irrespective of whether we agree with the demands of those protesting.
But rights are not absolute and protest should be made in a responsible way that takes account of prevailing circumstances.Read more
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties wrote to Senator Marise Payne today calling for urgent action to rescue people employed by Australia in Afghanistan now, without long delays checking on health, security and character.
Comments from our Government that those working through subcontractors are not eligible, or that the Government is following rules drawn up by the previous Labour government, are deeply disturbing.
It's time for action, not political point scoring.
Warning: this page contains reference to people who have died.
Last updated: 22 August 2023
There have now been at least 518 Indigenous deaths in custody since the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody were handed down in 1991.
It's time for the Australian Government to listen to repeated criticism from the UN and fully implement the Commission's recommendations.
It's time to address issues with systemic police racism.
It's time for the Uluru Statement, for constitutional recognition and a voice to parliament.Read more
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties is calling DFAT to withdraw its 2019 Country Information Report - Sri Lanka, relied on to refuse protection to Tamils including the Murugappan family, due to concerns over its currency and accuracy.Read more