About Civil Liberties Australia
PRESIDENT : Dr Kristine Klugman OAM
Dr Klugman's PhD in Politics at ANU analysed the two-way communication flow between MPs and electors. Earlier degrees were in Community Studies, and History. She has been President of CLA since 2003. Kris previously served on the NSW Legal Aid Commission, was a foundation member of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, and a researcher with the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, helping to establish the Criminal Justice tertiary course for police and prison officers in NSW. Her OAM was for 'services to education and the community'. She was the first-ever female President of the board of Australia's oldest museum, The Australian Museum. She was also the first female board member and full-time Deputy President in the 100-year history of the Board of Fire Commissioners of NSW, running the NSW Fire Brigades, and a member of state bushfire and rescue governing councils.
VICE-PRESIDENT: Tim Vines
Originally from the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Tim has lived in Canberra since 2004 when he began an Arts/Law degree at ANU. While at ANU, he was elected President of Bruce Hall Residents’ Association, served in the ANU Students’ Association and edited the Bruce Hall academic journal, Cross Sections. Tim graduated in 2008 with Honours and was admitted as a lawyer in 2010. Tim has published several papers on health law, human rights and intellectual property, and has worked as policy and legal officers for a number of government health agencies. Since mid-2015 he has been studying part-time for a PhD, investigating the domestic and international human rights implications of treating outbreaks of major diseases, like Zika and Ebola virus, as ‘national security’ threats. Tim is CLA’s main media spokesperson.
CEO - SECRETARY: William Rowlings OAM
Bill’s career has included journalism on Australian, UK and PNG daily and Sunday newspapers, as well as being editorial director of a monthly business and sports publishing house. In PR, he was media adviser to a senior federal politician and consulted to major corporates, federal departments and agencies, and NGOs, as well as co-authoring an Australian tertiary PR textbook. In 2013 he received an OAM for services to civil liberties and human rights. Bill manages CLA’s affairs day-to-day, and edits the monthly CLArion newsletter.
TREASURER: Sam Tierney
After a bachelor of economics from Sydney University in 2003, Sam was an advisor to Australian credit unions on how to manage interest rate risk across their banking books. In 2008, he moved to Canberra to undertake a Juris Doctor at the ANU, being admitted in 2010. He is now a solicitor in a small private practice, based in Canberra but litigating throughout Australia, concentrating on cases that right wrongs. Sam also sits on the board of a small charity focused on anti-human trafficking and crisis assistance in Cambodia. His passion for the law is balanced by a strong love for his family and the outdoors.
DIRECTOR: Frank Cassidy
Frank is a journalist and publisher, with qualifications in advertising, accounting, public administration and professional writing. He is currently founder-editor of the online newspaper PS News - and its network of editions covering the Commonwealth Public Service and separate state equivalents. In the 1970s, he managed marketing of the national 'Life. Be In It' health and fitness campaign. Frank was inaugural Secretary of the National Australia Day Council and represented the ACT at the Constitutional Convention in 1998. He is a former Convenor of the Australian Republican Movement in the ACT, and was a member of the AFL for Canberra Committee, Chairman of Tuggeranong Community Arts for 12 years from 1998 until recently. Frank received a Centenary of Federation Medal in 2000.
DIRECTOR: Richard Griggs
Richard, born and raised in Hobart, qualified from the University of Tasmania with majors in law and sociology, then worked in Canberra as police and legal affairs advisor to a politician. He returned home to work as an in-house corporate lawyer and again enjoy having a choice of wilderness bush walks starting virtually from his back-doorstep. Richard is Tasmanian Director of Civil Liberties Australia.
DIRECTOR: Mark Jarratt
Mark is a security risk management professional. He was with Customs for over 21 years, five as headquarters chief security adviser. He now advises clients for NDY, an international consulting engineering firm. Mark has a BA in Political Science from ANU and post-graduate qualifications in security risk analysis and management, including from Edith Cowan U. He was V-P (Australia) 2013-15 for ASIS International, the largest global association of security professionals. His key personal concerns are minimising unjust bullying of tobacco consumers and halting erosion of liberties and freedoms caused by bad laws.
DIRECTOR: Rajan Venkataraman
For nearly 20 years, Rajan was a federal public servant in the Foreign Affairs, Attorney General’s and Prime Minister’s departments. His diverse career spanned foreign and domestic policy, trade negotiations and national security. He did a three-year diplomatic posting to Chile and also worked in a ministerial office in Parliament House. In 2006, Rajan was appointed a member of the Australian Film and Literature Classification Board. He is currently based in Tasmania where he works as an independent consultant and freelance editor, and volunteers as a tutor for adult literacy and numeracy.
Jennifer is ‘retired' from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees after two decades operating from Zambia to Kazakhstan, including two years with UNAIDS in Myanmar. During both 2015 and 2016 she was called back to UNHQ in Geneva to help kick start urgent refugee relief projects. Her career started with the then-AUSAID and with Australian NGOs (in Cambodia from 1986-1989, work for which she received an OAM). Her first qualification in social work was followed by a Masters-by-correspondence through Deakin Uni as a nightly respite from the harsh daily realities of remote refugee camps. She is now a keen gardener.
DIRECTOR: Margaret Howkins
Margaret returned to WA a decade ago, after more than 30 years away in Canada and England, where she worked in communications before gaining formal qualifications in sociology and psychology. She ran training and management programs for the Trades Union Congress and British police among others. Back home in Perth, she was surprised to find some attitudes, training and actions of authorities antiquated by comparison: she set about becoming a change agent to ensure better monitoring of police and bureaucracies, and to boost understanding for how citizens must stand up for themselves to retain civil liberties. For a living, she tutors students to prepare them for final high school exams and university early-year courses.
Last updated 20 August 2017
A copy of the current constitution of Civil Liberties Australia Incorporated (Association No. A04043) can be found by clicking here. The current version (V5) incorporates changes arising from the 2013 Annual General Meeting, which is the last time the constitution was altered (information correct at 1 June 2013).
Civil Liberties Australia (CLA) is a national organisation based in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. CLA stands for people’s rights, and goes in to bat for our civil liberties…basically, for a fair go. It is non-party political and independent of other organisations. It is funded by its members and donations – CLA does not receive funding from other sources.
CLA monitors police and security forces, and the actions and inaction of politicians and bureaucrats as well as reviewing proposed legislation to make it better. Actions and activities are reported in a monthly newsletter, CLArion, and regularly on the website, www.cla.asn.au The website also carries articles of general interest in the field of liberties, rights, freedoms and responsibilities.
The organisation aims to keep Australia the free and open society it has traditionally been, where you can be yourself without undue interference from ‘authority’. CLA was first registered on 10 December 2003. Current office bearers are located under the ‘The Board’ tab associated with this page. In mid-2013, CLA had more than 250 members drawn from every State and Territory, as well as some international members.
CLA concentrates on trying to anticipate problems, rather than being reactive, and on providing solutions to generic difficulties, rather than trying to correct one-off, individual cases. CLA facilitates Law School internships on emerging issues:
- 2006: international human rights law re climate change;
- 2007: impact of the post-11 September 2001 laws on Australian society;
- 2007: recommendations on personal and proxy medical consent laws;
- 2007-8: research and recommendations re new national DNA/genes laws;
- 2009: analysis of the constitutional and legal situation in Fiji;
- 2010: analysis of restorative justice initiatives in the Pacific;
- 2011/12: comparative study of law-making in states/territories c.f. federally;
- 2013: study of use of stun guns (Tasers) by police in diverse locations.
CLA is the second civil liberties group formed in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). From about the mid-1970s to the late 1990s, a Canberra-based organisation called the ACT Council for Civil Liberties (ACTCCL) held regular meetings under the presidency for many years of barrister Laurie O’Sullivan, and then in its final years of lawyer Jon Stanhope, who later was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly and subsequently became Chief Minister of the ACT between 2001 and 2011, when he resigned from the parliament. On 1 July 2004, he introduced the first Human Rights Act (‘Bill of Rights’) in any Australian jurisdiction.
After forming in Canberra in December 2003, the new CLA decided to operate nationally from 2006-7 when the launch of its first website showed a need for civil liberties help, advice and monitoring in all States and Territories, as well as nationally. The CLA Board decided to concentrate on any area in Australia where civil liberties and human rights are under threat, keeping a particularly watch on national issues and rural and regional areas, and in growing outer areas of major capitals, where there are no formal groups.
Join us You can join or renew membership to Civil Liberties Australia by clicking here.
Donate to Civil Liberties Australia To make a donation to Civil Liberties Australia, please click here.
History of Civil Liberties in Australia
The people and organisations fighting for freedoms and liberties
A new book in production, by Dr Kristine Klugman* and Bill Rowlings**
Please feel free to download a chapter: (NOTE: at 1 Mar 18, three chapters ‘completed’: corrections/additions welcome)
Civil Liberties Australia:
The youngest of the Australian freedom-fighting entities, with a reputation for ‘punching above its weight’, according to Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary, Senator John Faulkner. Read how a failure to lodge annual returns in the ACT led to the founding of what quickly became an active national organisation, represented through all states and territories.
Click to download the CLA chapter
A state noted early for its model prison (which became the slaughterhouse site of an over-armed madman) has much to tell about freedoms. Almost certainly Australia’s most successful rights-claiming and negotiating entity, Tasmania still doesn’t have the bill of rights that its most famous liberty-lover, Andrew Inglis Clark, wanted constitutionally for both state and nation.
Read how the police tried to take over the inaugural meeting of the Council for Civil Liberties in Darwin, but God wouldn’t let that happen! By the time of the 2nd meeting, the few police left were too busy on general duties to try to control the liberties of Territorians, who have remained frontier in place and spirit ever since.
* Historian, author and President of Civil Liberties Australia
** Journalist, author and CEO of Civil Liberties Australia
The Annual Report for 2017 and other papers considered by the 2017 electronic Annual General Meeting were:
- Report/Minutes of the 2017 AGM (Declaration of voting/election)
- President’s Report for 2016
- CLA Annual Report for 2016 which includes the Treasurer’s Report for 2016
The Annual Report for 2016 and other papers considered by the 2016 electronic Annual General Meeting were:
- Report/Minutes of the 2016 AGM
- President's Report for 2015
- Treasurer's Report for 2015 (included in the Annual Report), and the
- CLA Annual Report for 2015.
The Annual Report for 2014 and other papers considered by the 2015 electronic Annual General Meeting were:
- Report/Minutes of the 2015 AGM
- President's Report for 2014
- Treasurer's Report for 2014 (included in the Annual Report), and the
- CLA Annual Report for 2014.
The Annual Report for 2013 and other papers considered by the 2014 electronic Annual General Meeting were:
- Report/Minutes of the 2014 AGM
- President's Report for 2013
- Treasurer's Report for 2013 (included in the Annual Report), and the
- CLA Annual Report for 2013.
The Annual Report for 2012 and other papers considered by the 2013 electronic Annual General Meeting were:
- Report/Minutes of the 2013 AGM
- President's Report for 2012,
- Treasurer's Report for 2012 (included in the Annual Report), and the
- CLA Annual Report for 2012.
The Annual Report for 2011 and other papers considered by the 2012 electronic Annual General Meeting were:
- Report/Minutes of the 2012 AGM
- President's Report for 2011,
- Treasurer's Report for 2011 (included in the Annual Report), and the
- CLA Annual Report for 2011.
The Annual Report for 2010 and other papers considered by the 2011 electronic Annual General Meeting were:
- Report/Minutes of the 2011 AGM
- President's Report for 2010,
- Treasurer's Report for 2010 (included in the Annual Report), and the
- CLA Annual Report for 2010.
The Annual Report for 2009 and other papers considered by the 2010 electronic Annual General Meeting were:
- Minutes of the 2010 AGM
- President's Report for 2009,
- Treasurer's Report for 2009 (included in the Annual Report - see pages 7, 8, 11 and 12 of the Annual Report), and the
- CLA Annual Report for 2009.
The Annual Report for 2008 and other papers considered at the 2009 electronic Annual General Meeting were:
- Minutes of the 2009 AGM,
- President's Report for 2008,
- Treasurer's Report for 2008, and the
- CLA Annual Report for 2008.
The Annual Report for 2007 delivered to the 2008 AGM (5 Apr 08). Also an audio of the keynote speaker at the 2008 AGM of CLA, Professor George Williams, is below, outlining why Australia needs a charter of rights and responsibilities.
[sc_embed_player volume="50" fileurl=http://www.cla.asn.au/audio/AGM080405.MP3 ] Click to listen to the 2008 AGM keynote address by Prof George Williams
The Annual Report for 2006 delivered to the 2007 AGM is available here.
The Annual Report for 2005 delivered to the 2006 AGM.
The Annual Report for 2004 delivered to the 2005 AGM.
We stand for people’s rights, and go in to bat for everyone’s civil liberties. We monitor police and security forces, and the actions and inaction of politicians. We review proposed legislation, to make it better, and keep watch on government departments and agencies. We work to keep Australia the free and open society it has traditionally been, where you can be yourself without undue interference from ‘authority’. Over 2014-2016, our main activities will be:
- promoting civil liberties – a fair go for everyone – in Australia;
- seeking reform of parliamentary processes and systems;
- improving draft laws and contributing to parliamentary hearings;
- correcting the worst excesses of anti-terrorism laws;
- helping to safeguard people’s data and privacy, especially in health;
- cooperating with similar groups, for example (privacy, prisons, refugees, mental health, drug law reform, aboriginal rights, migrant rights, whistleblowers, voluntary euthanasia, etc)
- campaigning against the death penalty;
- monitoring prisoners’ and detainees’ rights in jails, particularly juveniles;
- helping legal students research analyse national and international issues;
- producing a monthly email newsletter CLArion on key issues; and
- creating a larger, more robust national civil liberties organisation
When you join Civil Liberties Australia, while we expect your support generally, we recognise that you don’t have to advocate every policy. You are free to disagree on particular issues: that’s freedom of choice. Below are the topics on which we have formalised policy positions. Please click if you wish to see them:
Charter of Rights
Drugs and Alcohol
Freedom of Information
Freedom of speech
Genetics & DNA
Commenting ...our policy
We welcome comments, for alternative views and to generate debate. We check comments before they are published, to make sure they are on-topic, family-friendly and in keeping with our publishing principles. To make sure your comments are published, please...
- stay on topic
- leave out swear words and bad language
- be careful not to libel or defame any body
- do not be -ist: (race, age, sex, etc)
- avoid posting someone else's copyright material, and
- concentrate on the factual more than the emotional (though there's room for both)
If your comments stray from these principles, they may not be posted, or may be edited to remove bits we find offending or inappropriate.
If you see something in a comment that you think is objectionable, please let us know your reasons.