ACLU ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2002
The ACLU is an Australia-wide organisation and has about 250 members. During the course of the year the ACLU has taken up various policy issues with government departments, has made representation on behalf of individuals, participated in TV news programs and has been quoted in news stories in numerous newspapers. During the course of 2001 letters or comments by the ACLU have been [published in newspapers such as The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Adelaide Advertiser, The Sunday Mail, The Herald-Sun and The New York Times. ACLU spokesmen have also been interviewed on more than eight radio stations in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, SA and WA, and have appeared on TV stations such as Channel 9.
The ACLU has made policy representations to the federal and state governments and/or has had its views published in news items or in letters to the editor on issues such as proposed new powers for ASIO; new federal legislation on privacy and over use of surveillance cameras (comment in The Adelaide Advertiser and The Sunday Mail); federal government proposals to punish whistleblowers; plans to give ASIO 24 hour detention powers; the use of the Defence Signals Directorate in the Tampa crisis for political purposes; a proposed data bank of medical records; privacy and the internet; proposals to censor the internet and proposals by the Free Speech Committee to liberalise defamation laws.
The ACLU has also made representations to the state government in relation to proposed racial vilification legislation and held a public meeting attended by about 90 people in February 2001, addressed by Dr.Toben, by Raymond Hoser the author of books on police corruption and by John Bennett on freedom of speech issues.
The ACLU has a website (http://www.go.to/aclu) containing most of the contents of Your Rights and a new chapters in Your Rights 2002 - Big Brother and Free Speech Issues and Immigration and Multiculturalism, A new chapter on the rights of people with psychiatric illness is being prepared. The website also contains policy statements on whistleblowers, censorship of the internet, contempt of court, racial vilification legislation, ACLU annual reports, concentration of control in the media, the libel proceedings brought by David Irving and the attempt to force Dr.Toben to close his Adelaide Institute website. ACLU members and supporters are urged to access the website rather than rely on ACLU newsletters for up to date information on ACLU activities. If you cannot access the internet from your home, you can do so from almost all libraries with the assistance if necessary of librarians.
The 27th edition of Your Rights was published in 2001 and more than 2100 free copies containing numerous law reform proposals were distributed to Australian federal and state MPs, legal aid groups, libraries and the media. Since Your Rights was first published, more than70,000 free copies have been sent, mainly to pensioners, journalists, schools and libraries. The 27th edition of Your Rights had new sections on the rights of gays and lesbians and the rights of mental health consumers, the activities of the Free Speech Committee and changes to the Family Law Act. Your Rights is the most widely used layman's guide to the law in Australia.
Contents of Your Rights
Australian Civil Liberties Union