NSWCCL: Pressure builds on Perrottet re his anti-protest policy
In the lead up to the poll on 25 March, pressure is building on Premier Dominic Perrottet as the reality of the NSW anti-protest laws sinks in for the broader New South Wales community. NSW Police reportedly told organisers of the weekend’s Sydney International Women's Day March, the School Strike for Climate last week and the organisers of the 2023 May Day Rally that they could not hold these community-based actions in front of Sydney Town Hall if the number of people exceed 2,000 - an arbitrary number that has no legislative or policy basis.Read more
Sydney Criminal Lawyers: NSW Police Falsely Claimed that Violet Coco Blocked an Ambulance
NSW civil society was appalled when Violet Coco received a 15 month prision sentence in respose to her taking part in a Fireproof Australia action that blocked one lane of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for 25 mins.
During the hearing, NSW police argued that Coco and the three other Fireproof Australia activists conducting the nonviolent direct action had blocked an ambulance trying to get across this bridge with its lights and sirens on responding to an emergency which had been one of the main arguments against these road-blocking protests.
This allegation has since been redrawn by the NSW police, which prompted NSWCCL president Josh Pallas to release a media statement.Read more
Attorney-General calls deaths in custody a national shame but fails to back action
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says incarceration rates and deaths in custody of Indigenous Australians are a national shame but stopped short of backing Aboriginal senator Pat Dodson’s calls for immediate action on 30-year-old royal commission recommendations, SMH's Lisa Visentin and James Massola report.
In Dodson's powerful intervention, calling out the inaction of successive governments, he said the the Albanese government has an obligation to act on the findings of the royal commission and make sure that people taken into custody have the care that they need.Read more
Media Statement: NSW Police forced to withdraw false allegations against peaceful protesters
Today in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court protesters, Alan Glover and Karen Fitz-Gibbon, were sentenced on pleas of guilty to charges arising from blocking one lane of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for about 30 minutes in April of 2022. This afternoon, both received 18 month Community Correction Orders with a fine of $3000 each.
The police’s initial allegation that the protest blocked an ambulance with its sirens on was withdrawn in court. That allegation contributed to the Court decisions last year to impose harsh bail conditions and previously unheard of custodial sentences for non-violent, peaceful protesters who were co-defendants of the people sentenced today.
Magistrate Daniel Riess noted that ‘Violet’ Deanna Coco and Jay Larbalestier has both been sentenced of the “false ambulance assertion” and that “no emergency vehicles were obstructed”. The police have now withdrawn the allegation that the protest hindered any ambulance.Read more
USYD should reverse suspensions placed on student protesters
Today NSWCCL President, Josh Pallas wrote to University of Sydney Vice Chancellor, Professor Mark Scott to urge Professor Scott to reconsider the reported suspension of two students, Maddie Clarke and Deaglan Godwin, who protested at a University of Sydney University Law Student’s Society event in September 2022.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) considers the reported half-year suspensions of these two students to be excessive and disproportionate. We asked USYD to immediately reverse these suspensions.
Student protests against invited speakers on campus have a long history and occur in the spirit of academic freedom and the free flow of ideas in educational institutions. Such speeches and student protests are often controversial but are essential to the interplay between university management and the student body within a community which is meant to foster free thought and thinking.
Prominent members of our society, including the current Prime Minister of Australia, participated as students in disruptive protests on campus.Read more
Submission: Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (CRIS) informing the sharing of General Practice Data and use of Electronic Clinical Decision Support (eCDS).
The CRIS poses a series of questions to further identify the challenges of and options for the sharing of general practice data and the use of eCDS. The objective is to use general practice data to inform government health policy and for public health research. Rather than answering each specific question posed, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties submission focuses on the privacy implications for patient consumers of general practice services and use of eCDS. The submission covers the four identified problem areas of data sharing and consent; data quality, comparability and linkage; data governance, oversight and coordination; and the increased use of eCDS by GPs.Read more
Submission: Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee in regard to the Migration Amendment (Evacuation to Safety) Bill 2023.
Update: 9 March 2023 Yesterday Labor the Australian Labor Party joined with the Liberals to vote against the Greens' legislation to evacuate refugees and people seeking asylum from Nauru and PNG to safety in Australia. This is a devastating blow for the 150 people still trapped in limbo. NSWCCL condemn the Labor Party for betraying refugees and people seeking asylum.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties, civil society and human rights organisations welcome the introduction of the Migration Amendment Evacuation to Safety Bill 2023 in the Senate. This Bill is required to urgently resolve the situation of those refugees and asylum seekers still living in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Australian asylum seeker policy is a gross breach of human rights and decency. It is inconsistent with its obligations under international law.
The Bill offers the chance to reform the law to bring Australia’s immigration policies in line with our international obligations under the Refugee Convention, by bringing all refugees and people seeking asylum to Australia while determinations are made about durable solutions.Read more
NSWCCL Statement: UN torture prevention body terminates visit to Australia
The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) has been forced to terminate its suspended visit to Australia signalling to the international community that Australia is shamefully failing in its obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Torture (OPCAT). The NSW Council for Civil Liberties call on all Australian governments to prioritise the implementation of the OPCAT and to meet our obligations to the people held in detention.
In compliance with obligations under the OPCAT, Australia must execute two simple functions for the establishment of the principles of the OPCAT into law. First, to set up, designate and maintain a network of Commonwealth, state and territory inspectorates (each referred to as NPM Bodies) responsible for inspecting and making recommendations about places of detention within their jurisdiction. Second, to facilitate visits to Australia, including to places of detention under Australia's jurisdiction and control, by the SPT. NSW has yet to nominate an NPM Coordinator or implement the OPCAT into law.Read more
NSWCCL welcomes the move to grant permanent residency for refugees
On February 13 the Albanese Government announced that it would end the cruel and unnecessary policy of temporary protection. This means that those who already have a Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) or Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) will be able to apply for a permanent Resolution of Status (RoS) Visa.
This is wonderful news for the thousands of people who have been living in limbo on these cruel and inhumane visas for over a decade. Those granted a new visa will have the same rights and benefits as all other permanent residents, and will be immediately eligible for social security payments, access to the NDIS and higher education assistance. People on TPVs and SHEVs have been living and working in our community, paying taxes, creating employment and strengthening our economy for years.
Privacy Act Review Report Released
The Privacy Act Review Report was released on 16 February 2023. NSWCCL was pleased to see that many of the recommendations the Council made in our submission were supported by the review.
A key recommendation in our submission which was adopted by the review is ensuring the collection of, use and disclosure of personal information is fair and reasonable, including whether the “impact on privacy is proportionate to the benefit”. The Council supports the inclusion of non-exhaustive legislated factors that are relevant to determining whether the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. However, it considers that clear guidance and examples of how these factors may apply in practice must be provided.Read more