New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties Civil Source Newsletter June 2013

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In this edition || Annual Dinner // Excision from Migration Zone // ASIO Campaign // 'No Fire Zone' tour // Global surveillance

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NSWCCL 50TH ANNIVERSARY DINNER
The main celebratory event for this 50th anniversary year for the NSWCCL will be our annual dinner on Wednesday 18th September 2013.

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NSW Council for Civil Liberties office@nswccl.org.au Suite 203, 105 Pitt St, Sydney, NSW 2000 PO Box A1386, Sydney South, NSW, 1235 Phone: (61 2) 8090 2952 Fax: (61 2) 8580 4633 - NSWCCL website - Renew membership - Donate now - Email us

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG - and honorary life member of NSWCCL- has agreed to be the keynote speaker. Michael is extremely well placed to speak with authority on the last 50 years of CCL challenges and achievements. He first joined NSWCCL in the 1960s. When he retired from the High Court, NSWCCL recognised his lifetime of passionate support for civil liberties and human rights, his many outstanding achievements in law reform and his enduring inspiration to civil libertarians young and old by conferring honorary life membership on him in 2011. (We note that

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Justice Kirby was recently appointed to head the team appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate allegations of torture, prison camps and starvation in North Korea.) As Michael is also a renowned orator we have great hopes for the night. We will be returning to the SKY Phoenix Restaurant in the CBD Westfield Plaza – as it was rated very highly by last year’s guests. Note the 18th September in your diary Line up your friends Get a table together OTHER EVENTS Formal invitations will be sent to members and external guests in the second week of August.
Thursday 13 June NSWCCL Secretary Stephen Blanks speaking at 'Asylum Seekers and Propaganda' Thursday 27 June Saturday 29 June 'No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka' documentary screening and Q&A session Also touring Melbourne, Canberra and Perth Saturday 29 June Beat the Blockade! and Support Assange & WikiLeaks Coalition Fundraising Trivia Night

NSWCCL
Wednesday 26 June Monthly Committee Meeting Wednesday 18 September Annual Dinner

AUSTRALIA'S ASYLUM SEEKER POLICY MORASS: THE EXCISION OF THE AUSTRALIAN MAINLAND
The entire Australian mainland was excised from the migration zone by Federal Parliament in May this year in a bid to deter the arrival of asylum seekers by boat. Under ‘the no-advantage rule’, where previously asylum seekers who reached the mainland by boat could not be sent offshore to Nauru or Papua New Guinea's Manus Island for immigration processing, this legislation strips away any legal advantage for asylum seekers who reach the mainland by boat. The NSWCCL made a submission in relation to the Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Unauthorised Maritime Arrivals and Other Measures) Bill 2012. We argued the Bill was in contravention of Australia’s obligations under international law including: the right to liberty and security of person by providing for discretionary detention for certain individuals seeking to enter the migration zone; denial of right to engage in wage earning employment; denial of procedural fairness and access to the judicial review system; the risk of contravention of Australia’s non-refoulement obligations, and contravention of the rights of the child by placing children in offshore detention for an indefinite period of time. Furthermore, NSWCCL argued that discriminating on the basis of means of arrival, by treating persons who have entered the migration zone by air differently to those who arrive by boat, undermines the notion of a ‘no advantage’ principle through the

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operation of differing schemes solely determined by method of arrival. From a humanitarian perspective, it is well recognised that the imposition of mandatory detention has had devastating impacts upon the mental health of irregular maritime arrivals. The suggestion that individuals, fleeing their home country driven fear of persecution, will be deterred by the prospect of detention or refusal of a visa application until a period of exclusion lapses is naive, and has proven to be ineffective in achieving its purpose of deterrence with over 11,000 asylum seekers arriving in Australia since August 2012. Interesting the exorbitantly high monetary cost of $2.9 billion to Australian tax payers over the next financial year for implementing current policies has received little reaction from the general public in a time of fiscal belt tightening. Jo Murphy Asylum Seeker Sub Committee Co-convenor

US Government sued over phone surveillance program (12 June 2013) Call for inquiry into terrorist asylum seeker (31 May 2013) Police face potential charges over student's Taser death (27 May 2013) Our excessive anti-terrorism laws must go (15 May 2013) Fine-tuning push on terror laws (14 May 2013)

NATIONAL ASIO CAMPAIGN
The National ASIO Campaign now has a strong core group of organisations supporting it and has an effective national advisory group. It has recently made its first public overtures to our political leaders. In May, following the release of a positive Parliamentary Committee Report, NSWCCL and 10 other civil liberties and human rights organisations wrote from the National ASIO Campaign to the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. We urged the Australian Parliament to act on the Report’s recommendations and provide refugees subject to an adverse security assessment by ASIO - and thereby denied a protection visa and consigned to indefinite detention - a legislated right to a proper merits review of their adverse assessment before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. It will be difficult to get action on this injustice in the frenzied election context, but as over 50 refugees are in detention with no prospects of release, this is an urgent civil liberties issue. We will not let the issue die. The letters are open and ‘live’ and will serve to introduce the ASIO Campaign more widely. We will seek support for the letters from individuals and organisations for as long as it takes to get action.
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NSWCCL members are invited to add their signatures. And pass on to friends. Read the the letters at this link: http://www. nswccl.org.au/asiocampaign.php Two other important reports on ASIO and counter-terrorism laws were released in May: the Final Report of the COAG Review of Counter-Terrorism Legislation and the Annual Report of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor. The report of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor is particularly interesting and provides us with considerable support for key ASIO Campaign goals. We are currently developing strategies to utilise these reports to build support for reform of the counter-terrorism laws in some key areas.

Save the CNS
NSWCCL supports the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) in its campaign to save the Custody Notification Service. Read more and sign the petition. "We need to fund programs

NO FIRE ZONE: THE KILLING FIELDS OF SRI LANKA
NSWCCL is proud to endorse the film tour of No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, which includes screening of the documentary and a Q&A session with the director, Callum Mcrae. In January 2009 the Sri Lankan government launched the final offensive in a 26 year war against the rebel forces of the Tamil Tigers or LTTE, who were fighting for an independent Tamil state within Sri Lanka. In the final stages of the war, the Government of Sri Lanka encouraged hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians to gather in “No Fire Zones”, where they said they would be safe. Government forces then subjected these zones to sustained shelling. Food queues, hospitals, and aid convoys were all attacked by the Sri Lankan military and government officials denied adequate supplies of food and medicine to the trapped civilians. No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka is a feature documentary which follows the last 138 terrible days of this war. Both a film of record and a call to action – No Fire Zone is a devastating expose of war crimes and crimes against humanity: the culmination of a three year investigation which has seen its producers nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

like the CNS to reduce the over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders in custody and to provide them with the specialist services that they need. A first step in better protecting their rights would be for the NSW government and the Commonwealth Government to permanently fund the Custody Notification Service. The relatively small annual cost of the CNS is more than justified in the success it has had in reducing the risk of deaths in custody." Cameron Murphy, NSWCCL President

Please visit www.australiantamilcongress.com for information
For enquiries: admin@australiantamilcongress.com, 1300 660 629
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THE 'NEVER-ENDING' GROWTH OF GLOBAL SURVEILLANCE
No-one could have missed the current worldwide furore arising from the revelations from the latest hi-tech whistle blower - Edward Snowden. It began last week with the Guardian’s expose of the extraordinary reach of routine data surveillance undertaken secretly by the National Security Agency -within the US and internationally. First we heard about PRISM- the super program which gave NSA the capacity to suck data directly from the servers of major US internet providers (Google, Facebook, AOL, Apple, Paltalk, Skype, Microsoft). Then we followed the US administration’s explanations/ justifications which opened up further concerns –particularly within Europe, where Governments were less than pleased to hear Americans being assured that the focus of this massive surveillance was on non-US citizens. The debate on the legitimate scope of surveillance in democratic societies has been again blown open by these US revelations. It is too early to know whether this will be for better or worse. It is clearly a positive that Governments and intelligence agencies are again subject to a wave of probing questions and pressure to come clean about the scope of their surveillance activities. Valuable information is surfacing. The US (and to a certain extent the UK) administration is under particular pressure and there is a detectable hesitation from Obama as to what line to take. American civil liberties bodies are calling for the resignation of the head of NSA for lying to Congress (‘answering with the ‘least untruth possible’) and have announced they will challenge the legality of the PRISM program. The internet companies are defensive- with Google in particular initially denying knowledge of PRISM and now seeking permission from the Justice Department to release information on what it has provided in response to Government requests. The indignation in Europe is generating calls for privacy laws to be strengthened to ensure this kind of intrusion can be blocked. There are renewed calls for the protection of privacy against these assaults: eg “A clear legal framework for the protection of personal data is not a luxury or a constraint but a fundamental right” (from European Commission VP). On the other hand, the SMH today published recent US survey

Max Taylor: 'Bail Out'
In April 2012 the NSW Law Reform Commission presented its Report on Bail, which recommended a number of amendments, including a presumption in favour of bail. It was welcomed as a positive step in reducing prison populations and protecting the rights of the accused. However the Government's response was disappointing. Max Taylor, former magistrate and CCL Committee member led the NSWCCL Bail Campaign which brought together a strong Bail Reform coalition to lobby for urgently needed reform. Max has written an article arguing that the State Government has designed the new legislation to appease police. He condemns the Bail Bill 2013 as representing "a giant step away from the fundamental principles underpinning Western values on bail". You can read his full article at Justinian. The Bail Bill 2013 was introduced to NSW Parliament on 1 May 5 of 6 May 2013 and passed on 22 2013.

data which had 56% of Americans supporting the NSA secret surveillance of millions of US telephone records while only 41% found it unacceptable. In the UK the Home Office has reaffirmed it remains determined to press ahead with the sweeping ‘snoopers charter’ notwithstanding strong opposition to it. Closer to home, it was immediately evident that Australians would be caught up in this surveillance program and that our intelligence agencies could -and most likely would have - had access to the communication records of Australians through this door. And this reminded us of our own very active surveillance programs relating to content and non-content phone/electronic data, with the Australian Federal Police admitting in recent Senate Estimates to 50841 requests-without warrants- for ‘non-content’ data over the last year. The contingent drama of the fate of the brave Edward Snowden is well underway. From what we know, he appears to have given considerable thought to what he has released and why. He is clearly positioning himself as a responsible ‘truth -teller’/ whistleblower. This may not protect him from the wrath of the US administration and those who have already designated him guilty of treasonous leaking of US secrets. Having met with his selected media representatives in Hong Kong, Snowden appears now to have gone into hiding. NSWCCL has some serious work to do in sorting through the implications- and possible opportunities- that flow from these massive surveillance revelations. Clearly we are in an era where surveillance form within any state/agency can have global reach. It is increasingly evident how informative and intrusive mass surveillance of phone and internet meta-data (the so-called ‘noncontent’) is. This is an issue we will energetically pursue with other concerned organisations and within the National ASIO Campaign network – and internationally with other civil liberty and human rights groups. Dr Lesley Lynch National ASIO Campaign Convenor

Web and social media
You may have noticed we've improved the newsletter design for this edition - this is just one of many improvements for our web and social media presence over the next few months. We're working on a new design for our website as well as continuing to improve our presence on Facebook and Twitter - and we're even branching out into other social media like YouTube!

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