|Issue No 105||03 August 2001|
Bracks Plans Curbs on Assembly Rights
The Victorian Trades Hall Council is opposed to state government plans to introduce new laws governing peaceful assemblies, rallies and processions.
At last Friday's meeting of the Executive Council unions unanimously resolved that more consultation was needed over the draft Peaceful Assemblies Bill.
It is believed that the government intends to introduce the Bill in the Spring Session of Parliament. Unions are seeking urgent talks with Police Minister, Mr Andre Haermeyer.
"We don't see a need for this Bill in its current form and it gives police more powers than they've have had previously," said Leigh Hubbard, Trade Hall Council Secretary.
"While we agree the Unlawful Assemblies and Processions Act 1958 is out of date, this is an important piece of law which affects civil liberties and the right to protest and it should not be hastily dealt with by the State Government or Parliament." Parliament's Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee reviewed the legislation in 1996, and again in 1999, making a number of recommendations, including the introduction of a legal recognition of a right to protest ands assembly.
Mr Hubbard said that unions welcomed legal recognition of a right to rally and protest, but that the restrictions make a mockery of the right in the proposed Bill. "As with any legislation the devil is in the detail. Unions believe the Bill reduces the separation of powers between the state and police. Under the current Unlawful Assemblies and Processions Act, 1958, a magistrate has to determine that an assembly is "riotous" and once that determination is made the police can disperse a crowd. In this new draft bill, a police officer of the rank of Senior Sergeant or above can alone determine whether or not a gathering is, or is likely to become 'riotous' and proceed to disperse it."
"The union movement has a long and proud history of peaceful assembly and of working co-operatively with police to ensure that events occur without incident. We are deeply concerned about the lack of consultation over this Bill. As the movement that holds more marches, rallies, pickets and other public gatherings than any other part of the community, we think it is only common sense to consult properly before the matter proceeds."
Interview: Whose Advocate?
Employment Advocate Jonathon Hamberger argues the case for his organisation's survival and reveals his secret union past.
Politics: CHOGM: What Should Unions Do?
Activists Peter Murphy and Vince Caughley kick off the debate about what is the appropriate action ot take when CHOGM leaders meet in Brisbane
E-Change: 2.1 - The Changing Corporate Landscape
In the second part of their series on the impact of new technology, Peter Lewis and Michael Gadiel try to understand the new corporate playing field.
Jim Marr reports that the Employment Advocate has been handed a chance to salvage some credibility by cleaning up anti-union practices in the call centre industry.
Economics: Privatisation: The Dangerous Road
Frank Stilwell argues that the corporate collapses of HIH and One Tel are potent reminders of the downside of ‘people’s capitalism’.
History: Hard-Earned Lessons
Art Shostack looks at the legacy of the landmark strike by PATCO air traffic controllers 20 years ago.
International: Political Prisoner
Greenpeace campaigner Nic Clyde, facing up to six years gaol in the United States for taking part in a non-violent protest, speaks exclusively with workers Online.
Review: Seven Pubs and Seven Nights
Labor Council's newest recruit, Susan Sheather, shows she respects tradition by going in search of the perfect bar
Satire: Obituary: Mr Rob Cartwright - Captain of Industry
In all fields of endeavour, there are those who command our respect through their sheer commitment to excellence. One such titan was Rob Cartwright, whose chosen field, the obscure HR discipline of "moving people onto individual contracts" lost its greatest practitioner and champion late last night, following a tragic self-inflicted accident.
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