Apec – Sydney September 2007

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APEC – Sydney September 2007

  • April 2006 – September 2007
  • Objectives:
  • Generally - To identify the inequalities in the laws, legal system, administrative practices and society as a whole that affect our clients and disadvantaged people generally. To work for social and legal change to remove those defects and inequalities and enhance respect for human rights.
  • To defend rights of free speech and freedom of assembly.
  • Provide representation to Sydney University students arrested protesting
  • Challenge unjust use of police powers, advocate for changes to legislation or police practices
  • Transfer of skills to stakeholders
  • Encourage peaceful non-violent and lawful conduct of protesters and police
  • Monitor security arrangements and any impact or conflict with civil and political rights

Client Groups

  • Protesters
  • People who wished to actively participate in protest marches.
  • Sydney University students and other young people.
  • Citizens
  • People seeking information to empower them to make informed choices about their participation in protest activities.
  • Vulnerable Persons
  • People in the community who may have been adversely affected by APEC activities or police operations.

Case Work

  • Local Court Criminal matters involving other protests leading up to APEC. Protests of 12 April 2006.
  • APEC Act “Excluded persons” case
  • Constitutional (implied) freedom of political communication
  • Supreme Court + Court of Appeal
  • Padraic Gibson & v Commissioner of Police & Ors [2007] NSWCA 251 (6 September 2007)
  • 3 Pro Bono Counsel (including Senior Counsel)
  • Ombudsman complaints re: NSW Police conduct
  • (iv) Referrals to pro bono providers for representation in related criminal matters

Legal Advice

  • Ongoing (telephone) legal advice to:
  • Protesters “known to police”, who were at the time facing criminal charges, subject to search warrants or otherwise under investigation, suspicion or “monitoring” in NSW and other states.
  • Protesters who were planning to actively participate in protest marches.
  • Protest organisers re: operation of Summary Offences Act 1988 and negotiating with NSW Police for “Authorised Public Assemblies”

Research & Networking

  • (i) Legislation
  • Analysis of the APEC Act (with the assistance of Pro Bono Counsel)
  • Identification of the impact of legislation on protesters and other client groups eg vulnerable persons
  • (ii) Police Policy & Procedure
  • Observation of Police “attitude” in the conduct of criminal matters
  • Informal discussions with police
  • Recording incidents reported by client groups involving NSW & Federal Police
  • Monitoring Police & government media campaign – discouraging citizens from participating in protests aimed to
  • “Silence dissent” by referring to protesters as potential terrorists threats
  • Participation in meetings with relevant stakeholders including the Police, the Dept of Attorney General, Legal Aid Commission of NSW, the NSW Ombudsman, Members of Parliament and others to ensure that issues of process and fairness to both those actively engaged in activities and those who might be caught up (eg homeless persons) were identified and addressed.
  • (iii) Impact on Community
  • Identifying community concerns regarding the proposed Police operation
  • Identifying ways to raise awareness in the community of the impact of police & security operation
  • (iv) Liaising with Human Rights Monitors and Protest Organisers
  • (v) Raising awareness amongst other lawyers CLCs

Community Legal Education

  • Content
  • Information to empower citizens to make informed choices about their participation in
  • civil society including public debate and protest marches.-
  • Operation of existing criminal laws & criminal justice system
  • Analysis of APEC legislation
  • Information from our research on likely Police actions
  • Strategic & practical tips – how (not) to get arrested. Peaceful participation
  • Protesters
  • Mostly young people including Sydney University & other students
  • (ii) “Activists”
  • People experienced in participating in street protests and direct action
  • (iii) Citizens
  • Citizens considering protesting for the first time
  • (iv) Human Rights Monitors


  • No RLC media presence
  • Not in best interest of our clients
  • No benefit to RLC generally
  • David Marr
  • “His Master’s Voice: The corruption of public debate under Howard” Quarterly Essay 26 1 June 2007
  • Published by Black Inc
  • Facilitation of meetings with protesters
  • Mainstream Media
  • Informal communications with major print media
  • Advising protesters (students) in dealing with media
  • Independent & Community media (CLE Topics)

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