[NoToPope activist] Rachel Evans said, “We want to call on all Sydneysiders and defy what the State Government has tried to do in quelling our freedom of expression”
Important stuff. Major pat on the back to the NSWCCL for running this case.
A better case for a constitutional bill of rights would be hard to find. Bob Carr and other anti-bill of rights advocates insist that a bill of rights would encourage an excessively litigious society. Frankly, if we had a bill of rights, the case to challenge the WYD protest laws wouldn’t have been necessary. The government would have recognised the folly in enacting such laws, knowing they would not survive a court challenge. A bill of rights will in fact reduce litigation. However, a useful bill of rights has to be part of the constitution, not statutory, where politicians can rejigger it at will, along party lines.
Regrettably, the language proscribing ‘inconveniencing’ WYD attendees remains:
Premier Morris Iemma says the Government will not be appealing against the court’s decision. He says police still have adequate powers.
“Two words have been struck out – the words ‘and annoyance’,” he said.
“‘Inconvenience’ is still there and they can still achieve the same objective, and that is to ensure that people who do want to make a point in a protest can do so without disrupting the pilgrims or the events.
Mr Iemma says a court decision to invalidate World Youth Day annoyance laws will not affect the ability of police to carry out their duties.
“That’s the law, we obey that, and the event proceeds, the police have got the powers to ensure that it is not disrupted,” he said.
No wonder Iemma’s satisfied; ‘inconvenience’ is as broad and nebulous as ‘annoy.’
However, if as Mo sez, the police retain sufficient authority to manage the event, what was the purpose of the excessively authoritarian laws in the first place? Sure didn’t do much for the popularity of the Iemma government, did it?
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