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Your Rights When Performing a Freedom of Speech Event in a Public Venue

Your Rights When Performing a Freedom of Speech Event in a Public Venue

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Published by Erik Sydney

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Published by: Erik Sydney on Jan 12, 2009
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11/13/2009

 
Your rights when performing afreedom of speech event in a publicvenue (NSW)
 A guide to help you know your rights when out in the public domain so that you don’t break the law and so that your rights don’t get breached by the police and members of the public.
Friday, 9 January 2009
Freedom of political expression
Firstly let’s start with your right to freedom of speech. It’s not very clear, however withoutgoing into the in depth analysis of the Australia Constitution, there was a Supreme Courtdecision in ‘92 and ’94 that stated that there was an implied right to political communication.If you want to read more about it you can go here:http://epress.anu.edu.au/agenda/001/01/1-1-A-8.pdf This right to communication is referenced in several acts recently such as:Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 No 35Police Integrity Commission Act 1996 No 28Protected Disclosures Act 1994 No 92These acts only reference parliamentary freedom however in essence; you have the right topolitical freedom of speech.If someone tries to stop you from a political demonstration, you should tell them
“I have aright to political freedom of speech as covered by the Australian Constitution” 
Thisshould inform whoever is trying to move you on, gag you from speaking or protesting thatyou know you have rights.
 You do not need a permit to have a political freedom of speech event
if you are in anypublic area; this includes the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority regulated area.http://www.shfa.nsw.gov.au
 
Proof of Identity
As a general rule you
do not have to give anyone your identity
. Do not be conned or scared into giving your identity when you do not have to. If you do, your rights have beenbreached.There are some exceptions to this where you
have to give your identity
, which I will cover below so that you don’t get yourself arrested.
 
11 I
DENTITY
 
MAY
 
BE
 
REQUIRED
 
TO
 
BE
 
DISCLOSED
 
 A police officer may request a person whose identity is unknown to the officer to disclose hisor her identity if the officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the person may be able toassist in the investigation of an alleged indictable offence because the person was at or near the place where the alleged indictable offence occurred, whether before, when, or soon after it occurred.
This is fairly straight forward. If you are asked for your Identity, you can reply with
“Is therean offence you are investigating that requires you to obtain my identity?” 
If there is,then hand over your details.Part 3Division 2Section 14
 
14 P
OWER
 
OF
 
POLICE
 
OFFICER
 
TO
 
REQUEST
 
DISCLOSURE
 
OF
 
DRIVER
 
OR
 
PASSENGER
 
IDENTITY
 
(1) A police officer who suspects on reasonable grounds that a vehicle is being, or was, or may have been used in or in connection with an indictable offence may make any one or more of the following requests:(a) a request that the driver of the vehicle disclose his or her identity and the identity of any driver of, or passenger in or on, the vehicle at or about the time the vehiclewas or may have been so used or at or about the time the vehicle last stopped before the request was made or a direction was given under this Division to stop thevehicle,(b) a request that any passenger in or on the vehicle disclose his or her identity and the identity of the driver of, or any other passenger in or on, the vehicle at or about the time the vehicle was or may have been so used or at or about the time thevehicle last stopped before the request was made or a direction was given under thisDivision to stop the vehicle,
This is ambiguous, how does an officer know you may be driving and related to an offence?However because there are so many road laws that they can pin on you, you shouldprobably hand over your license.Part 6ADivision 3Section 87L
87L P
OWER
 
TO
 
OBTAIN
 
DISCLOSURE
 
OF
 
IDENTITY
 
(1) A police officer may request a person whose identity is unknown to the officer to disclose his or her identity if:(a) the person is in an area that is the target of anauthorisation(whether or not in or on avehicle), or 
 
(b) the person is in or on a vehicle on a road that is the target of anauthorisation ,and the police officer reasonably suspects that the person has been involved or is likely tobe involved in a public disorder.(4) A police officer may request a person who is requested under this section to disclose his or her identity to provide proof of his or her identity.
This one is clear cut and you need to know this. There is a clause, 87D that refers toauthorisation of special powers. These special powers are essentially a police state zone.You have no rights there and you need to hand over ID and move on if requested. Theycould probably bash you without recourse. If you are asked for ID, sometimes it might beworth asking if the area you are in is the target of a special authorisation.
Filming and Your Rights
One of the most important and right protecting things you can do is FILM or AUDIORECORD any interactions you have with people of civil authority. This can turn a badsituation where your rights are being abused to a good situation where you rights are upheld.There are many Supreme Court case laws that you can reference but a good one toremember is:R v Sotheren (2001) NSWSC 204, where the Justice Dowd stated:
“A person, in our society, does not have a right not to be photographed” 
You can basically film and record anything and anyone as long as it is clear you are doing soand you are on public land. The best practice for this is to clearly state that you have acamera and that you ARE RECORDING.
“Officer, just to inform you I have a camera inmy hand and I am filming this interaction, this is not a concealed device and we are ina public place” 
The laws that govern recording of conversation can be found in the federal Act.LISTENING DEVICES ACT 1992 - SECT 4
Use of listening devices(1) A person must not use a listening device with the intentionof— (a) listening to or recording a private conversation to which the person is not a party;or (b) recording a private conversation to which the person is a party.
As you can see, it is only when you hide your recording device, that it is illegal.Many members of the public including the police think that you need to ask them permissionbefore filming. It’s purely a matter of courtesy if you do or do not record them. The onlycaveat to this is if you intend to profit from the image or recording you are taking of theindividual. It’s at this point you need to obtain a Release Form. The ways people stop othersfrom using their imagery are:

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