Activists' right to free speech and peaceful assembly

Principal Petitioner Leah Coutts, Annerley
Date Closed Thu, 14 Mar 2019 This epetition has ended
No. of signatures 881 signatures

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Residents and ratepayers wish draw to the attention of the Honourable Lord Mayor Graham Quirk the excessive restrictions being placed by Council on activists exercising their right to free speech and lawful assembly. Specifically, animal activists participating in the Cube of Truth demonstrations in Reddacliff Place are being overly burdened by restrictions made under the Public Land and Council Assets Local Law 2014. Activists are told that failing to abide by Council’s restrictions will result in infringements and enforcement. However, Council’s restrictions are extreme and include banning speaking to members of the public or freely displaying non-commercialised educational material on screens. These restrictions are so extreme that compliance would effectively render the demonstration ineffective, making them a gag on free speech. When our Federal and State Governments have enshrined the right to gather and disseminate political communication, Council has an obligation to respect peaceful grassroots activity.

In placing any restrictions on content, Council needs to explain why images of standard Australian agricultural practices are not suitable for viewing on public land. We request written correspondence outlining how Council will respect residents’ civil liberties and explain how the restrictions were ever justified when the images displayed portray nothing but lawful agricultural activities.