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15 July 2008

World Youth Day - No New Powers, Just Old Ones

I am more than pleased to report that the new laws, allowing police to detain people or fine them $5,500 for annoying or inconveniencing World Youth Day attendees... for the obvious reason that they could be misused to infringe on people's rights.

I may have joked about making the laws less unfair by expanding them - but in the end, in all seriousness, sense has prevailed.

Unfortunately it took an appeal to the Full Bench of the Federal Court to realise this outcome - and all the associated costs and fuss that comes with such an appeal... but at least it happened.

08 July 2008

Under-funding Public Broadcasters - the problems and pitfalls

In my recent post on under-funding the ABC, I outlined how much the ABC has had its budget cut over the last decade or so... and Kevin Rudd's official reply on the matter.

I have since contacted the minister in question (Senator Conroy) to remind him of the promises made before the election.

But today, Crikey! released their assessment of some of the symptoms of under-funding that are beginning to show themselves.

I can't say it much better than them... so here's the link:

The ABC: outsourcings "R" us

01 July 2008

World Youth Day - New Powers

New powers, effective today, have been introduced to allow police to perform partial strip searches at hundreds of Sydney sites - and to allow police to arrest and fine people for "causing annoyance" to World Youth Day participants.

The SHM report.

Critics say that the new laws have the potential to make a crime of wearing a T-shirt with a message on it, undertaking a Chaser-style stunt, handing out condoms at protests, riding a skateboard or even playing music.

I say - these laws haven't gone far enough!

Yes, they are prejudiced against people who aren't participants of World Youth Day.

But the answer isn't to restrict the laws - or repeal them. The solution is to broaden them.

Let's remove the prejudice from these laws by extending their powers to everyone.

World Youth Day causes me great annoyance. Why not fine everyone of the participants for every WYD t-shirt they wear.

All participants of WYD should be strip searched upon leaving any of the "declared areas". People leaving them should be subject to vehicle and baggage searches that require them to remove jackets, gloves, shoes and headwear if requested. And reasonable force should be allowed to make sure they stay inside their "declared areas" if, for any reason, they do not permit the search.

Kristina Keneally is reported as saying "bag checks are a sensible safety precaution which any young person who is going to a major event in Australia … would expect". So, the participants should be expecting them.

The president of the NSW Council of Civil Liberties, Cameron Murphy, said the broad meaning of "causes annoyance" had the potential to encompass any activity.

Great! So, basically, if extended to pro-WYD behavior as well as anti-WYD... it would cover any religious singing, all speeches and sermons performed as a part of WYD... and most especially, anything carrying the motto "For the time of your eternal life"!

Bring it on. Let's fine every last one of them for all the really annoying things they're going to subject us to.

Don't shun the idea - use it.

Bring on the new laws... just get rid of the prejudice in them, and we can all join in the game.