Submission: Inquiry into the Administration of the Referendum into an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee (Committee) in regard to the administration of the referendum into an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice (Referendum).
NSWCCL's submission focuses on key issues relating to the disenfranchisement of First Nations people, misinformation and disinformation, and the ongoing integrity and assurance process of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).Read more
Submission: The Provisions of the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023 Bill.
We support the Voice as an enactment of the Uluru Statement of the Heart, and the proposed amendment to the Constitution of Australia. We submit that the proposed wording is appropriate and should be put to the Australian people in its current form.
Whilst this Inquiry is based on the wording of the proposed amendment, we observe that many submissions provided are more concerned with the concept of the Voice, laced with unfounded fears and scaremongering, akin to those upon the introduction of the Native Title Act 1993. In our submission, we call on the Committee to consider such submissions in that light.Read more
Submission: Criminal Code Amendment (Prohibition of Nazi Symbols) Bill 2023
The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in regard to The Criminal Code Amendment (Prohibition of Nazi Symbols) Bill 2023 (the Bill).
Freedom of expression does not give licence to individuals to engage in expression which engenders hate and incites violence. To that end, we support the principles underpinning the bill. However, the council believes it is the promotion of Nazi ideology which should be criminalised. To the extent that this Bill falls short of that objective, it is inadequate. It seeks to criminalise only one aspect of the promotion of Nazi ideology – the display of Nazi symbols. That does not go to the heart of the problem. Careful consideration of how to prevent the promotion of Nazi ideology is required – the criminal law is only one of the required tools; other tools are required – education, engagement, diversion – and the criminalised conduct should be the core of the offensive conduct, not a superficial aspect.
Submission: NSWCCL response to the release the Privacy Act Review Report.
As previously submitted, privacy is a fundamental human right that is central to the maintenance of democratic societies and achieving respect for human dignity. To this end, urgent reform is required to modernise the Act and ensure it is fit for purpose in the digital age, and the NSWCCL reiterates its previous submissions outlined in its response dated 9 January 2022 to the Attorney General’s Privacy Act Review Discussion Paper.Read more
Submission: COVID-19 Vaccination Status (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill 2022 (Cth) (Discrimination Bill) and the Fair Work Amendment (Prohibiting COVID-19 Vaccine Discrimination) Bill 2023 (Cth) (FW Amendment Bill)
NSWCCL supports the right to decide whether or not to receive a vaccine. We acknowledge that people have valid reasons for choosing to refuse a vaccination (including medical and religious reasons). NSWCCL also supports the objective that the broader community is deserving of the greatest level of health and wellbeing available to them. This includes employers and business providing a safe work environment and complying with state and federal work health and safety laws, employees and other workers having the right to a safe work environment, and vulnerable and at-risk members of society who are susceptible to the effects of COVID-19 (e.g. the immunocompromised) being safe in the community.
In our view, the Bills in question, unreasonably and disproportionately protect the unvaccinated at the expense of the rights of other members of the community. Based on the generally accepted medical science, the Bills are incompatible with human rights.Read more
Submission: Inquiry into Religious Educational Institutions and Anti-Discrimination Laws
This consultation paper, produced by the ALRC is in response to a referral from the Attorney-General
Mark Dreyfus, in November 2022, for the ALRC to review the exception provisions in the Sex
Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) that apply to religious educational
These provisions have been of concern to NSWCCL and many other community, civil liberties, human
rights and legal groups for a long time. Calls for their review are correspondingly longstanding. The
ALRC previously commenced a review of the provisions which was regrettably suspended by a
previous Government. NSWCCL commends the current Attorney-General for moving quickly to
establish this review. It is a very significant law reform initiative of great importance particularly to
children and young people, in particular, who are connected with in religious educational institutions.
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
Submission: Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Information Disclosure, National Interest and Other Measures) Bill 2022
NSWCCL has consistently voiced concerns about the potential for misuse of location data, collected by everyone from telecommunications companies to Google. In our recent submission to the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee we note that due care should be taken in widening law enforcement's access to personal data.
The stated aim of the proposed ammendments to the Bill are to provide police with greater access to location data from phone companies to find missing people at risk of harm. NSWCCL agrees that the timely provision of information to law enforcement is critical to ensuring the safety of vulnerable and at-risk individuals. However, we argue that the current legislation allows disclosure of such information, under section 287 of the act, if emergency services believe “on reasonable grounds that the disclosure or use is reasonably necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of a person”. We do not agree that the appropriate balance between information privacy and the free flow of information has been achieved in the Bill.Read more
Submission: Review of the Modern Slavery Act 2018
The Australian Government has asked Professor John McMillan, AO, supported by the Attorney-General’s Department to undertake a statutory review of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 operation and compliance over the first three years since commencement. The review commenced on 31 March 2022 and is to be completed within one year, followed by a report to be tabled in Parliament.Read more