Mike Baird’s recently introduced anti-protest laws radically extend police powers against opponents of mining projects. These laws have been described as an assault on democracy and civil society. Why have these unpopular laws been introduced, and what do they mean for those seeking to oppose mining developments in NSW and beyond?
At the Politics in the Pub on 27th July 2016(6.30-8.30pm), in the Courthouse Hotel, Mullumbimby, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Stephen Blanks, will address these measures and what we can do to resist them.
Stephen Blanks became President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties in October 2013, having been Secretary since 2005. Stephen has been a solicitor since 1985, and has a small legal practice located in Rozelle, Sydney.
Stephen has been a member of NSWCCL since 1993. He was prompted to join when acting for a book publisher who had published a book about corruption and a NSW Government agency wrote to all major booksellers demanding that they not sell the book. NSWCCL was vital in obtaining publicity for the publisher, leading to a speedy withdrawal of the demands.
Stephen’s particular civil liberty interests include asylum seekers, free speech, privacy and racial vilification.
Although Stephen’s legal practice is primarily commercially focussed, Stephen has over the years taken on many legal cases involving civil liberties issues, including cases involving unpopular asylum seekers, protesters, paedophiles and people smugglers.
An important part of Stephen’s involvement in civil liberties is supervising Australian and foreign students undertaking internships.
Stephen appears frequently in the media commenting on issues involving civil liberties.