Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Youth Day laws 'crept up on us'

The state's community legal centres are calling for an inquiry into the expansion of police powers in New South Wales ahead of World Youth Day.

The Combined Community Legal Centres Group has investigated the way new powers have been given to police by the State Government, especially for last year's APEC summit in Sydney.

In a report to be released today, it warns the powers have often been introduced without sufficient debate and proper safeguards.

It warns the powers could also be used inappropriately during World Youth Day.

Shirley Southgate from the Kingsford Legal Centre says police have often been given new powers without sufficient debate or proper safeguards.

"It beggars belief that police are going to be able to consistently and sensibly enforce that," she said.

Ms Southgate says the regulation allowing police to fine people for annoying World Youth Day pilgrims is the latest example.

"They've kind of crept up on us, that stealthy derogation of these rights and freedoms, and the interpretation is not clear," she said.

"There's a great deal of uncertainty around them, so the effort in policing them is going to be massive I would imagine."


Youth Day laws 'undermine basic rights'
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.

Tough police powers outlive APEC
CONTROVERSIAL powers granted to NSW police during last year's APEC summit are likely to be made permanent - or at least available to police for any special event - under a proposal to be taken to state cabinet. The powers made it possible to exclude people from certain zones during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in September. Police were given extraordinary rights to search people.

No comments: