The right to freedom of assembly (protest)

Did you know you are protected right throughout the Commonwealth of Australia to freedom of assembly through numerous international laws? In other words you can protest for many reasons, including but not limited to political protesting.

The right to peaceful assembly protects the right of individuals and groups to meet and to engage in peaceful protest.

Articles 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and article 8(1)(a) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). See also article 5 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) , article 15 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and article 21 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Furthermore, if international law is not enough, that being under the United Nations, protesting is protected in our own Commonwealth laws, and anyone interfering is punishable through the Crimes Act 1914 (cth) under Section 28 headed “Interfering with Political Liberty” which states:

Any person who, by violence or by threats or intimidation of any kind, hinders or interferes with the free exercise or performance, by any other person, of any political right or duty, shall be guilty of an offence.

Penalty: Imprisonment for three years.

Think about that the next time you protest in front of Parliament House in Canberra. Any law enforcement who interfere would face a 3 year prison sentence. It’s just another way our liberties are protected throughout the Commonwealth.

It is also worth noting that in October 2017, the High Court of Australia upheld the public’s right to protest after the state tried to curtail protests at mines and logging operations. The High Court also struck down parts of Tasmanian legislation allowing protesters to be banned from work sites, or worksite access areas, ruling they impinged on the Constitution’s implied freedom of political communication.

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