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Author Topic: It's Now Illegal to Oppose Catholic World Youth Day in Australia  (Read 2515 times) Average Rating: 0
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ozgeorge
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« on: July 01, 2008, 05:10:37 AM »

Youth Day laws 'undermine basic rights'
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/07/01/2291053.htm

The New South Wales Bar Association says new regulations for World Youth Day undermine basic rights and are an affront to freedom of speech.

Under the new regulations, people who refuse to stop engaging in conduct that causes annoyance or inconvenience to pilgrims can be arrested and fined up to $5,500.

The same provision did not apply during last year's APEC Summit in Sydney.

The association says the terms are too vague and the penalties are excessive.

It says if existing laws are considered sufficient to regulate conduct at events like the Mardi Gras or the Rugby World Cup, they should be good enough to cover World Youth Day.

The Bar Association has also accused the Government of avoiding public scrutiny by creating a criminal offence by regulation, rather than making it an Act of Parliament.

It says the NSW Government is trying to restrict freedom of speech.

Association president Anna Katzmann SC says the laws are ridiculous because any person displaying opposition to the event could be affected.

"If I were to wear a t-shirt proclaiming that World Youth Day is a waste of public money in a World Youth Day-declared area, and I refuse to remove it when an officer, an authorised officer of the Rural Fire Service asks me to do so, then I'm potentially committing a criminal offence," she said.

The Greens say the powers aim to shut down protests and provide a sanitised view of Sydney.

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon says the definition of causing annoyance is open to interpretation and the subsequent penalties are excessive.

"If somebody exposes themself to a World Youth Day participant they face a fine of $1,100, but if they wear an anti-Catholic t-shirt, the fine could be $5,500," she said.

But Deputy Police Commissioner Dave Owens says officers will act reasonably in determining what is offensive.

"Police officers do it every day of the week," he said.

"As I've said, they have a discretion. We're not the fashion police, we're not kill-joys."

World Youth Day spokesman Father Mark Podesta rejected suggestions the Catholic Church requested the special powers.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2008, 05:11:20 AM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2008, 08:13:19 AM »

So they're censoring free speech in the name of free speech? It seems to me people should have just as much right to oppose such an event as support it. As long as that speech remains speech and doesn't become violence, I've got no problem with it. I'm not sure what free-speech laws are like in Australia, but I imagine they're similar to the States and the rest of the developed world. If so, I believe these new regulations are quite the violation of free speech laws.
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2008, 11:22:27 AM »

I don't even think Australia has a Bill of Rights, so I am not sure what Freedom is Speech is like there.
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2008, 11:27:28 AM »

I don't even think Australia has a Bill of Rights, so I am not sure what Freedom is Speech is like there.

Our constitution covers bare minimum of rights and the rest is tied up in common law. But the law for free speech was first an implicit right in the constitution to allow free speech only on "political matters" so as to discuss candidates but the free speech for anything else is in common law so it can be revoked.
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2008, 12:56:53 PM »

Im glad that they are enforcing such rules. If someone has enough time to waste, that he should go out of his way to inconvenience people who do no harm, they should instead stop being lazy and occupy there time with a part time job.  So you Aussies start getting to work picking the crops in the fields instead.
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2008, 01:07:57 PM »

Im glad that they are enforcing such rules. If someone has enough time to waste, that he should go out of his way to inconvenience people who do no harm, they should instead stop being lazy and occupy there time with a part time job.  So you Aussies start getting to work picking the crops in the fields instead.

And just think of those people who are so unproductive that they are at a religious event instead of working in the fields...they should probably be driven from the country at point of bayonet. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2008, 01:19:21 PM »

yeah your right. Next time around im going to make t-shirts and go protest the boy scouts in their next jamboree.
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2008, 02:39:33 PM »

yeah your right. Next time around im going to make t-shirts and go protest the boy scouts in their next jamboree.

Go for it, I will most certainly defend your right to do so.
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2008, 04:43:23 PM »

Our constitution covers bare minimum of rights and the rest is tied up in common law. But the law for free speech was first an implicit right in the constitution to allow free speech only on "political matters" so as to discuss candidates but the free speech for anything else is in common law so it can be revoked.
Thank you. This is quite informative.

To be honest, our law isn't much better. The only thing the Constitution says is that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech." Only Congress is limited by the Constitution; the rest is legal precedent (our equivalent of common law) here too.
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2008, 06:20:31 PM »

Thank you. This is quite informative.

To be honest, our law isn't much better. The only thing the Constitution says is that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech." Only Congress is limited by the Constitution; the rest is legal precedent (our equivalent of common law) here too.

Not exactly, the court has placed similar restrictions on state and local governments based on the 14th Amendment.
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2008, 11:30:11 AM »

^ Which would be legal precedent, would it not?
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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2008, 11:33:39 AM »

^ Which would be legal precedent, would it not?

Only insofar as the interpretation of the First Amendment as prohibiting congress from restricting freedom of speech is 'legal precedent'. Technically any case law is legal precedent, but some things like the prohibition on congress and the states from restricting freedom of speech are also clearly enumerated in the Constitution and we tend to say that the Constitution rather than the precedent to uphold the Constitution grants those rights.
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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2008, 11:40:04 AM »

Let's not turn this thread into yet another discussion of American politics. I only brought up American freedom of speech, which I understand, to help me to understand Australian freedom of speech, of which I have no firsthand knowledge. If you want to discuss the U.S. Constitution, we've got a whole forum for that--and this isn't it.
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« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2008, 12:22:57 AM »

THE prominent Catholic priest and lawyer Frank Brennan has condemned new police powers for World Youth Day as a "dreadful interference" with civil liberties and contrary to Catholic teaching on human rights.

The Catholic Church yesterday stood firm behind the State Government's laws restricting annoying and inconvenient public protests.

Father Brennan's attack came as groups that had had no plans to protest during the event vowed to do so in response to the new laws. World Youth Day organisers said they had no objection to the open-ended nature of the regulations and confirmed the church had "discussed" with the Government the use of "standard laws" for the efficient running of the event.

Father Brennan said the Catholic document on human rights, Pacem In Terris, the 1963 encyclical of Pope John, said the responsibility of all authorities was "to safeguard the inviolable rights of the human person".

"As an Australian Catholic lawyer, I am saddened that the state has seen fit to curtail civil liberties further in this instance than they have for other significant international events hosted in Sydney," he said.

"The rights of free speech and assembly should not be curtailed only because visiting pilgrims might be annoyed or inconvenienced in public places."

Dr John Sweeney, the co-ordinator of research at the Edmund Rice Centre, said Jesus Christ had paid the price for saying what he thought and the right to free speech needed defending.

"It would rather be like Jesus calling for a police escort on Palm Sunday. Obviously, he wouldn't and when Jesus went into Jerusalem people yelled out things the religious leaders in their time didn't like and they rebuked Jesus and he said he couldn't quieten his supporters."

The director of GetUp.org.au, Brett Solomon, did not rule out a campaign of protests or pranks among his 280,000 members to highlight what he called the "absurdity" of the rules, even if it meant fines of $5500. Many had not been angry before about the papal visit. "We could organise 1000 people in annoying or inconvenient T-shirts to people the route," he said.

The groups planning protests include anti-homophobia and pro-contraception organisations, atheists, agnostics, gay- and lesbian-friendly churches, victims of abuse by Catholic clergy, and civil libertarians.

Victims' groups who met police in Melbourne on Tuesday were told they would not be allowed to protest in 40 designated areas, and that they must apply seven days ahead to hold a demonstration and their banners and T-shirts would be vetted.

For the first time, the NSW Government confirmed that the clause had not featured at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit or the 2000 Olympics. But it produced a list of 15 pieces of law where the clause had been replicated permitting removal of people from venues including Parramatta Stadium and the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The powers were mostly limited to single venues and did not have the scope of the World Youth Day regulations, which covered more than 600 sites including parks, roads, stations and schools.

Faced with disquiet among Catholics, the chief operating officer of World Youth Day, Danny Casey, said the church was not asking for a redefinition of the laws. "Yes, we support free speech, but we are also concerned to make it clear that the event must run efficiently. We believe Sydney is behind us. All the research suggests they are. Everyone will be swept away with this wonderful wave of joy and enthusiasm."

Pam Krstic, from the Healesville Education and Awareness Raising group, which represents victims of abuse by Catholic clergy, said police had told her members they would not be allowed near sites including East Darling Harbour, Randwick Racecourse, Hyde Park and St Mary's Cathedral. "We're not anti-Catholic. We're anti-abuse," she said. "Who's not anti-abuse?"

For the first time, the NSW Government confirmed that the clause had not featured at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit or the 2000 Olympics. But it produced a list of 15 pieces of law where the clause had been replicated permitting removal of people from venues including Parramatta Stadium and the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The powers were mostly limited to single venues and did not have the scope of the World Youth Day regulations, which covered more than 600 sites including parks, roads, stations and schools.

Faced with disquiet among Catholics, the chief operating officer of World Youth Day, Danny Casey, said the church was not asking for a redefinition of the laws. "Yes, we support free speech, but we are also concerned to make it clear that the event must run efficiently. We believe Sydney is behind us. All the research suggests they are. Everyone will be swept away with this wonderful wave of joy and enthusiasm."

Pam Krstic, from the Healesville Education and Awareness Raising group, which represents victims of abuse by Catholic clergy, said police had told her members they would not be allowed near sites including East Darling Harbour, Randwick Racecourse, Hyde Park and St Mary's Cathedral. "We're not anti-Catholic. We're anti-abuse," she said. "Who's not anti-abuse?"

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/catholics-split-on-freedom-to-annoy/2008/07/02/1214950851278.html

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Looks like the point is to pretty much give pedophiles a free ride. The Catholic Church is up in arms to suppress women's rights, gay rights, etc., but when it comes to raping children they'll enlist the aid of the state to sweep it under the rug.
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« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2008, 05:12:28 AM »

Court challenge to 'anti-annoyance' laws
Friday, 4 July, 2008
http://news.sbs.com.au/worldnewsaustralia//court_challenge_to_39antiannoyance39_laws_550956


Opponents of 'absurd' new anti-annoyance laws put in place for Sydney's World Youth Day celebrations will take their fight against the legislation to court.

Under the controversial rules, 'authorised people' - including police and other volunteers - will be able to order people to stop causing "annoyance or inconvenience" to pilgrims.

Those who refuse to comply will face fines of up to $5,500, but civil liberties experts say the new police powers impinge on human rights.

"The laws that have been brought in last Friday are bad laws, they are counter-productive laws and they impinge important human rights," said NSW Council for Civil Liberties spokesman Stephen Blanks.

"They are counter-productive because they have produced the situation this week that now there are many groups who wish to use the Pope's visit to protest against a wide variety of subjects where that was not going to occur if the government and police had taken a sensible approach."

Anti-annoyance law 'absurd'

A supporter of World Youth Day and host to visiting pilgrims, Mr Blanks said a court challenge to the legislation was being planned.

"Yesterday and today, I've spoken to many, many lawyers who are prepared to work pro-bono to challenge the legality of these laws," he said.

"We are presently working up a case which we intend to be in the courts next week. And we will see whether the government is legally able to outlaw annoyance. It's absurd. It's a breach of human rights."

Premier Morris Iemma earlier this week said the laws were brought in following consultation with the church and advice from the World Youth Day organisers.

"One of the things we will be looking at is whether the laws are beyond the powers under the WYD Act," Mr Blanks said.

Human rights 'breached'

"The WYD Act has powers to make regulations for purposes connected with WYD but they're not unlimited powers and these laws are not reasonably adapted to the purpose of making WYD work successfully."

Mr Blanks said the laws were wider-reaching than those imposed throughout APEC last year.

"(Under the) APEC laws, firstly, only the police had the powers and secondly, there was not a general prohibition on being annoying," he said. "The powers of these laws are much more (wide) ranging."

The latest powers were to have been extended to State Emergency Service and Rural Fire Service representatives involved in World Youth Day, but both agencies have declined to be involved.

The NoToPope Coalition has asked Sydneysiders to defy the laws and join their peaceful protest on July 19 when activists will march through city streets and hand out condoms to visiting Catholic youths.

"These laws have created more interest because they are so draconian," coalition spokeswoman Rachel Evens said. "They are putting unnecessary hurdles in front of us. We are not intimidated, we will defy this."
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« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2008, 03:13:03 PM »

That's the great irony, with a sensible approach a small number of groups would have held their protests and no one would have even taken note. Now these protests, which have over night gone from mere tokens of opposition by a small minority to the civic duty of every civil libertarian and supporter of human rights in the city, are international news and the Catholic Church is coming out in a very negative light with anyone who opposes the Church for any reason being able to legitimately claim aggrieved status.

You'd think that people would learn that in the modern western world you'll have much better control of the masses if you prey on their short attention spans instead of passing draconian legislation. But for some people I guess the façade of power means more than actually accomplishing their ends.
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« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2008, 03:41:55 PM »

Anti-annoyance laws spark t-shirt boom
Friday, 4 July, 2008 text 
http://news.sbs.com.au/worldnewsaustralia/antiannoyance_laws_spark_tshirt_boom_550962


Laws designed to stop anti-Catholic protesters 'annoying' pilgrims at World Youth Day have had an unexpected side-effect: an increase in sales of 'design-it-yourself' t-shirts.

The controversial new legislation gives police and other 'authorised people' the power to demand that others stop causing "annoyance or inconvenience" to pilgrims at this month's event in Sydney.

But it has been roundly condemned by civil liberties groups, who say that the rules impinge on the public's human rights, and mean that anyone wearing an anti-World Youth Day t-shirt would risk prosecution.

And that fact has apparently led many people to decide to do just that - by creating their own critical slogan t-shirts, or buying ready-made ones from internet stores.

The furore began earlier this week, when Anna Katzmann, president of the New South Wales Bar Association attacked the "ridiculous" laws, claiming they were an affront to freedom of speech.

'Criminal offence'

"The mere presence in the vicinity of a person wearing the apparel or insignia of another religion might be annoying or inconvenient to a participant in a World Youth Day event. So too, the presence of a protestor.

"If I were to wear a T-shirt proclaiming that 'World Youth Day is a waste of public money' and refuse to remove it when an officer of the Rural Fire Service asks me to, I would commit a criminal offence."

Remo Giuffre, founder of REMO General Store, said the row had sparked increased demand for his company's Design'O'Matic t-shirt service.

While both pro-and anti-World Youth Day t-shirts are available, some of the designs put forward have been particularly controversial.

"We expect our customers to be reasonable and to use their common sense in these matters. Thus far we have not been disappointed," Mr Giuffre said.

'Healthy debate'

But he added that while "it would take something pretty hateful and offensive for us to step in and exercise our power of veto to pull down any design", he had since had to do just that, removing a number of t-shirts from the site.

Designer Tristan Parry came up with what is, so far, the company's best-selling World Youth Day design: a plain white t-shirt with the slogan "$5,500: A small price to pay for annoying Catholics".

He explained that a "rather naughty sense of humour", combined with a sense of "indignation at the erosion of our civil liberties" had led him to come up with a series of World Youth Day designs.

But Mr Parry insists he isn't deliberately trying to insult people.

"Some of my best friends are Catholics, honest," he joked. "I'm not in the business of insulting Catholics, but I think healthy debate is always a good thing."

And yes, he will be wearing the t-shirt during World Youth Day.








Top 10 anti-World Youth Day t-shirt slogans
Friday, 4 July, 2008
http://news.sbs.com.au/worldnewsaustralia/top_10_antiworld_youth_day_tshirt_slogans_550966


Anti-World Youth Day t-shirts are selling fast, following the NSW government's ban on 'annoying' pilgrims. Take a look at some of the most popular slogans.


- You can fine me $5,500… But I still won’t believe in God

- WYD08: We close 300 roads so 300,000 can close their minds

- Good luck Pope – I've been waiting for a miracle at Randwick for years

- "and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who wear t-shirts that cause annoyance or inconvenience..."

- I survived a Christian Brothers education

- Oh no, I stepped in Dogma

- Too many Christians, not enough lions – Randwick 2008

- annoying & inconvenient

- I've been touched by the Catholic Church, so where's my $2 billion?

- World Youth Day: You can cross yourself, but not the city
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« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2008, 10:47:39 PM »

"and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who wear t-shirts that cause annoyance or inconvenience..."

Witty...
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« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2008, 10:22:19 AM »

Nice tee-shirts. I've love to see what would happen if they were about Islam.
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« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2008, 12:55:56 PM »

You'd think that people would learn that in the modern western world you'll have much better control of the masses if you prey on their short attention spans instead of passing draconian legislation. But for some people I guess the façade of power means more than actually accomplishing their ends.

Very insightful.

Nice tee-shirts. I've love to see what would happen if they were about Islam.
The reality is that they are not about Catholicism either. They are about freedom of speech. No one would have even bothered had these strange laws not been illegally passed. Why weren't the same laws passed for the recent visit of the Dalai Lama?
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« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2008, 12:59:36 PM »

Why weren't the same laws passed for the recent visit of the Dalai Lama?

Hence, this Tee shirt:
http://www.redbubble.com/people/juzzy3/clothing/1341338-1-buddha
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« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2008, 09:00:48 PM »

Thought of a good one (inspired by lubeltri):
"Does having this fatwa on me make my bum look big?"
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« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2008, 01:23:25 AM »

Islam Slogan: "Want to see my Virgins?" Grin
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