Senate committee calls on Parliament and government to remove barriers to oversight of emergency-related delegated legislation
The Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation has today tabled the interim report of its ongoing inquiry into the exemption of delegated legislation from parliamentary oversight, repeatedly referencing the NSW Council for Civil Liberties submission.
The interim report makes 18 recommendations to government and the Parliament to address systemic barriers to parliamentary oversight of delegated legislation made in times of emergency.Read more
NSWCCL wrote to ALP and Cross-bench Senators regarding the increase in filing fees in the Federal Circuit Court for migration-related matters. The fee will rise from $690.00 to $3,300.00. NSWCCL urged Senators to vote to disallow this instrument.
1 December 2020
Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court Amendment (Fees) Regulations 2020
On October 29 this year, the Government introduced a swingeing increase in filing fees in the Federal Circuit Court for migration-related matters. The fee will rise from $690.00 to $3,300.00 on January 1 next year.
The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties is deeply concerned by this change, as it will prevent many people from obtaining a review and reversal of unlawful, unjust, adverse decisions. It will prevent others from being able to afford legal representation too, thus lessening their chances of having mistakes exposed.Read more
Update 18 October 2021: with this legislation now listed for a second reading this week, we again wrote to all cross-bench senators reiterating our opposition to this bill and encouraging them to vote against it.
NSWCCL wrote to cross-bench Senators urging them to oppose the Strengthening the Character Test Bill.
1 December 2020
I am writing on behalf of the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, asking you to vote against the Strengthening the Character Test Bill, when, and if, that returns to Parliament.
Despite what has been said in the Explanatory Memorandum, this bill is not about outlaw motorcycle gangs, murderers, people who commit serious assaults, sexual assault of aggravated burglary. People who are convicted of such crimes do not receive sentences of less than a year, unless their actual offences are minor—and if so, they are known not to be a danger to the community. People who receive sentences of a year or more are dealt with by the existing legislation.
PUBLIC STATEMENT – 9 NOVEMBER 2020
The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) is opposed to the Drug Supply Prohibition Order (DSPO) Pilot Scheme Bill 2020 (the Bill) which provides police with extraordinary powers in circumstances where adequate powers currently exist to search and seize items related to drug activity.
The Second Reading Speech highlights that the purpose of the Bill is to “assist police to gather evidence of drug supply and drug manufacture effectively and efficiently”. The Bill is designed to have a “deterrent effect on a person subject to a DSPO, who may reconsider whether re‑engaging in a lifestyle involving the manufacture or supply of illicit drugs is worth the increased risk of police detection and further conviction”.Read more
9 November 2020
NSWCCL warmly welcomes the introduction to Parliament of the Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill 2020 (“the Bill”) by the independent member for Warringah Zali Steggall.
We are living in a climate emergency. Calling the multifaceted and serious crises a warming planet is precipitating “global warming” or “climate change” no longer does justice to the urgency of our circumstances. As we gradually move out of one global emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic, we should reflect on the value of rapid, high-quality emergency governance in defeating large scale, complex problems facing our societies. We should ask why we have not seen similar quality governance in Australia with respect to the climate emergency.Read more
2020 NSWCCL AGM
Item 9.2 Policy on ICAC
NSWCCL strongly affirms the crucial role of the Independent Commission Against Corruption in NSW. As Richard Ackland writes, the episode currently playing out with respect to Daryl Maguire, and incidentally, Gladys Berejiklian, is “a timely reminder of the disinfecting sunlight that ICAC is capable of shining”. To quote our President, “while the present proceedings may not encourage federal parliamentarians to move forward more speedily with a federal ICAC, they are certainly encouraging the electors to push for one.”Read more
2020 NSWCCL AGM
Item 8.2 Policy on visa cancellation on character grounds.
Section 501 of the Migration Act enables the Minister for Home Affairs or his delegates to cancel the visa or to refuse a visa of any person who is decreed to have failed what is termed ‘the character test’. The grounds on which this can be done are many: they include inter alia serving a total of 12 months’ imprisonment; conviction for any offence, no matter how inconsequential, while in immigration detention; being a person who has been or is a member of a group or organisation, or has had or has an association with a group, organisation or person, and that group, organisation or person has been or is involved in criminal conduct; being a person whose criminal or general conduct is such that the person is not of good character; or having been ordered by a court to participate in a drug rehabilitation scheme. If a court has found a person guilty of an offence against a child, or found a charge against the person proved for an offence against a child, whatever the penalty or even if the person was discharged without a conviction, they fail the character test. Persons can also be found to have failed the character test if there is only a risk that that they may engage in criminal conduct, vilify a section of the Australian community, or incite discord in a section of that community. Harassment, which is defined as including threats to the property of a person, also constitutes a failure of the character test.
The Australian Government has released the Privacy Amendment (Public Health Contact Information) Bill 2020 (COVIDSafe Bill) which will be considered by Parliament this week. The COVIDSafe Bill largely reproduces the biosecurity orders which made it possible to begin to download and operate the COVIDSafe App (App).
The NSW, Queensland and South Australian Councils for Civil Liberties, along with the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, support the introduction of effective digital contact tracing if it is underpinned by robust privacy and transparency legislation.
The joint statement has been sent to the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and Opposition Leader, along with all MPs and Senators.Read more
Police officers who conducted strip searches of children hadn't been properly trained and didn't understand the law on what they were doing, a series of landmark watchdog reports has found.
The conduct of NSW Police officers in carrying out strip searches of teenagers at music festivals has been found to be unlawful in a series of landmark reports by the NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.Read more
4th May 2020
The right to protest should not be curtailed
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties has grave concerns with the actions of the Victorian Police in the arrest of Chris Breen. To our understanding Mr Breen has been charged with incitement under section 321G of the Crimes Act 1958 for involvement in a protest car convoy. We are equally concerned with the issuing of infringement notices and fines of $1652 to 26 other participants.
On Good Friday the Refugee Action Collective planned a peaceful demonstration to highlight the living conditions for the refugees being held in the Mantra Hotel, Preston, The Mantra is being used as an Alternate Place of Detention (APOD). The purpose of the demonstration was to bring attention to the difficulties of maintaining social distancing and other hygiene concerns in the facility. NSWCCL has already voiced their concerns with the conditions in APODs.
Acknowledging the social distancing laws in place at the time, the protestors organised a car convoy with no more than two people in each car. The previous day a similar convoy had been held by the United Voice Union and although there were threats made in the media by the Victorian Police, no arrests were made, as was appropriate for a peaceful protest
On Good Friday the Victorian Police acted otherwise, by arresting Refugee Action Collective member Chris Breen in his house, holding him for nine hours at Preston police station, seizing his electronic devices (including his son’s) and charging him with incitement under section 321G of the Crimes Act 1958 for involvement in the car convoy. Police also issued infringement notices and fines of $1652 to 26 participants in the convoy.
NSWCCL has a number of concerns with the actions of the Victorian Police.
We are concerned by the use of public health measures to respond to matters of political action.
We are concerned with the precedent these actions could have for future rallies, protests or picket lines.
In order to maintain the civil right to protest in Victoria we make the following demands:
- The charge against Chris Breen to be dropped.
- The infringement notices be revoked.
- The Victorian Police and Government approve future car convoys and other safe forms of political protest.
NSWCCL has also written to Victorian Police Commissioner, Graham Ashton AM regarding this matter. View the letter HERE.
Angela Catallo and Dr Martin Bibby, co-convenors, NSWCCL Asylum Seekers and Refugees Action Group
Media requests: Angela Catallo via email to [email protected].
See this statement as a PDF