Submission: Consultation regarding the exposure draft of the Communications Legislation Amendment (Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communication and the Arts (the Department) in regard to the exposure draft of the Communications Legislation Amendment (Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023 (the Draft Bill).
The NSWCCL acknowledges the harms caused by misinformation and disinformation, particularly as they relate to: the erosion of trust in democratic processes; the weakening of trust generally between and among public and private entities; and, the undermining of an informed populace.
However, the NSWCCL is concerned that the Draft Bill does not sufficiently consider freedoms of expression and assembly, nor take into account the potential for misinformation to be spread by means and entities that are outside the Draft Bill's scope.Read more
We think that the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence, AI, poses significant risks to the civil rights of the Australian public. As it stands, Australia’s regulatory system fails to fully address these risks – an issue that will grow with increased use of these technologies.Read more
Submission: Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Prohibited Hate Symbols and Other Measures) Bill 2023
We support the Government’s ambition to reduce hate speech, violence and threats against diversity in Australia. However, we hold concerns about the Bill in its present form.
The amendments to the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth), in the Bill offer in part a symbolic solution to the risk posed by neo-Nazi and other extremist groups in Australia, and in part over-reach by over-generalised application. Criminalisation of harmful ideologies can only be part of the response – what is required is an appropriately resourced whole of government response to extremism and radicalisation. Whilst the criminal law may be the bluntest instrument at the disposal of the State, it is one of the least useful.Read more
Liberty Victoria and the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) thank the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) for the opportunity to contribute to this Review of post-sentence terrorism orders: Division 105A of the Criminal Code Act 1995. Liberty Victoria and the NSWCCL acknowledge the importance of protecting the community from acts of terrorism. However, in our submission we call for the abolition of continuing detention orders. The risk assessment tools underpinning these orders are deeply flawed and the regime amounts to arbitrary detention.Read more
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (Committee) Inquiry into Australia’s Human Rights Framework.
The NSWCCL fundamentally supports enhanced and enforceable protections for human rights in Australia. The NSWCCL is a member of the Charter of Rights (Charter) campaign coalition, an alliance of 90 organisations across the Australian community and endorses the Charter campaign submission to this Inquiry.
In our submission we have made a number of recommendations for the proposed framework.Read more
Submission: Review of the Migration Amendment (Clarifying International Obligations for Removal) Act 2021
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (‘NSWCCL’) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security regarding its review of the operation, effectiveness and implications of the amendments made to the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) (‘Migration Act’) by Schedule 1 of the Migration Amendment (Clarifying International Obligations for Removal) Act 2021 (Cth) (‘Clarifying Act’).
The Clarifying Act claims to support Australia’s international non-refoulement obligations by amending the Migration Act to clarify that it does not require or authorise the removal of a person who is deemed an unlawful non-citizen and for whom a protection finding has been made through the protection visa process.
However, NSWCCL is deeply concerned that by operation and effect, the Clarifying Act subjects a person captured by the laws to ongoing mandatory immigration detention, without any time limit or safeguards to prevent prolonged or indefinite detention.Read more
Submission: Call for Inputs from the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of human rights in the context of climate change
Ian Fry, Australian National University Professor and Tuvalu’s former ambassador for Climate Change for over 21 years, was appointed in May 2022 by the UN Human Rights Council, as the first Special Rapporteur on climate, following the overwhelming vote to recognize the Right to a Healthy Environment, in 2021.
Recently the Special Rapporteur called for inputs on the promotion of human rights in the context of climate change.The NSW Council for Civil Liberties welcomed the opportunity to make a submission.
Climate change is an urgent threat to humanity and to the full enjoyment of fundamental human rights. Threats to the environment are threats to everyone, and collaborative efforts at national, regional, and global levels are required for effective climate action.Read more
The NSW Council of Civil Liberties considers that urgent reform of the National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 (Cth) is required. The federal government has flagged amendments to national security laws to ensure that the near total secrecy that hid the prosecution and imprisonment of a former Australian intelligence officer cannot happen again.
While we applaud this sentiment, we are concerned that the NSI Act is easily abused for political ends, prescribes a misguided objective, and fails to provide adequate protections that would ensure open and fair justice in the trials to which it applies. We need action.
Having regard to the significant issues with the current NSI Act, the Council submits that it is not fit for purpose and that urgent legislative overhaul is required. We are agnostic as to whether this should occur via wholesale legislative reform to the existing NSI Act, or by repealing and replacing the current regime. What is important, however, is that the reformed version of the regime ensures better protections to parties’ rights and open justice, and adequate procedural limits on the exercise of powers under the NSI Act.Read more
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties welcomed the opportunity to make a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee in regard to its inquiry into the operation of Commonwealth Freedom of Information (FOI) laws.
This inquiry came about after the Greens, Coalition and crossbench teamed up to force the issue. The FOI commissioner, Leo Hardiman, announced his resignation earlier in March citing his lack of powers to make changes necessary to improve the timeliness of reviews of FOI decisions.
The former senator Rex Patrick has brought a federal court case challenging lengthy delays in the FOI review process. He has warned that vast delays plague Australia’s “broken” freedom of information system and are shielding the activities of government from scrutiny.Read more
NSWCCL made a submission to the Modern Slavery Review Team in November 2022 outlining four key recommendations to the legislative framework.
On 25 May 2023, the government tabled the Review of the Modern Slavery Act in Parliament which considers the current legislation and the operation of the Act in the first three years of implementation. The Act and its administrative implementation were considered as part of this review.Read more