NSWCCL made a submission to the Review of the Privacy Act 1988 advocating for urgent reform to modernise the Act and ensure it is fit for purpose in the digital economy. Privacy is a fundamental human right that is central to the maintenance of democratic societies and achieving respect for human dignity. In this regard, the NSWCCL submits that the right to privacy should be the paramount object of the Act and considers the two primary areas of concern in debates relating to privacy are:
- (a) the intrusive observation of one’s actions (whether by surveillance, listening, data analysis or other mode); and
- (b) the discussion and the misuse of personal information.
NSWCCL supports in-principle many of the proposals outlined in the Discussion Paper and commends the Attorney General’s Department for reflecting the legitimate privacy concerns of a broad spectrum of society. Many Australians are concerned about gaps and ambiguities in the existing privacy regime that undermine the right to privacy. This is especially important in the context of unprecedented integration of digital technology in our everyday lives.
Submission to Legal & Constitutional Affairs Committee re Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2021
NSWCCL made a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2021 [Provisions].
This is the third time that such a bill has been presented to Parliament. We made an extensive submission to the 2019 version of this bill, and those criticisms stand.
Australia has moved from deporting people who clearly are a danger and high risk, such as unrehabilitated murderers, to deporting people because a minister cannot be sure that they are not a danger to the community.
In fact, it we now accept deporting people to their likely death:
'counsel for the Minister suggested that much had changed since Ali and that the Minister was now more than prepared to proceed on the basis that Australia would breach its non-refoulement obligations and return the appellant to Iraq, even though it had been accepted that he was likely to be harmed or killed there'1
Criticisms made by the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Australian Law Council, The Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Scrutiny of Bills Committee and the Visa Cancellations Working Group also still apply.
We are disappointed that the Bill has been reintroduced without those criticisms being answered.Read more
Update 17 August 2022: The Commonwealth Government has completed its 2021-2022 review of the Legislation Act 2003. NSWCCL continues to hold the view that the recommendations of the committee could have and should have gone much further. Read our blog post here.
It is extremely concerning that the Government has chosen - in the wake of the powerful arguments made in the Committee report on the overreach of exemptions to disallowance - to double down on the notion that the Executive should have untrammelled powers to rule by decree without parliamentary oversight.Read more
On 18 November NSWCCL made a submission to the Inquiry into the Provisions of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021.
We encourage NSW residents to let the Inquiry know how you feel via its online questionnaire (closing date Monday 22 November).
NSWCCL strongly supports the Bill, which has very strong public support and is long overdue. Death may be inevitable, but it need not be cruel.Read more
On 1 November 2021, NSWCCL made a submission to the Inquiry into the Public Interest Disclosures Bill 2021. The Bill re-writes protection for public officials who blow the whistle on wrongdoing, following a 2017 Joint Parliamentary Committee review that recommended a complete rewrite of the existing legislation.
NSWCCL endorses the Bill, which we note adopts nearly all the recommendations from the 2017 report, while noting some shortcomings.Read more
NSWCCL and the Sydney Institute of Criminology have made a joint submission expressing concern about the Commonwealth’s continuing detention scheme for terrorist offenders and its lack of compatibility with human rights law and fundamental principles of criminal law.
We argue that serious consideration should be given as to whether the scheme is necessary. If the scheme is to continue, we argue that the scheme should be amended in substantial ways to enhance (to the extent possible) its compatibility with human rights law.Read more
On 20 August, NSWCCL made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee in regard to the Inquiry into the Constitution Alteration (Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Press) 2019 (Constitutional Alteration).
The NSWCCL endorses wholeheartedly the proposed Constitutional Alteration which aims to enshrine the right of freedom of expression, including freedom of the press and other media, in the Constitution. This will be achieved by inserting a new Chapter IIIA and section 80A in the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900.
On 16 July 2021, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties made a submission to the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) in regard to the public consultation on the Digital Identity Legislation Position Paper.
NSWCCL welcomes the codification of the DIS which will embed privacy safeguards in primary legislation not in a subordinate instrument. The DIS claims to include a number of privacy features. The effect and success of which will be known once the draft legislation is introduced. 1 Such features include voluntary participation, no single identifier, express consent and Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA) for accreditation. Despite these provisions, there are clear weaknesses. The rules, for example, will allow for the PIA to be conducted by an assessor from within the same entity as the applicant; hardly independent.
Submission: The Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill 2020
NSWCCL has made a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security's Review of the Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill 2020.
If passed, this bill would cripple the ability of litigants to have access to information that is critical for their cases for retaining a visa, becoming citizens or retaining their citizenship. While it protects the constitutionally guaranteed powers of the High Court, the Federal Court and the Federal Circuit Court to know whatever information is relevant to their reviews of ministerial decisions, it would prevent other courts and other bodies from having such access. And vitally, it not only would allow protected information to be concealed from litigants and their counsel, it would allow them to be denied even the information that such information exists. In effect, only the Minister could use the information in court. This is unacceptable. It is contrary to Australia’s international obligations. But most importantly, it is a severe intrusion on the rights of a person to a fair hearing. It overturns the basic legal principle of equality before the law.Read more
NSWCCL made a submission to the NSW Department of Communities and Justice Inquiry into the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Amendment Bill 2021.
- proposes the creation of a mandatory notification of data breach scheme
- would extend the Act to include NSW State-Owned Corporations that are not already regulated by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)