Stand-up, Fight Back – Defending Protest in NSW

We know that activism changes history and the right to stand together and peacefully protest must be protected and defended for every citizen not pared back. Peaceful protestors should never face incarceration.

Yet, both major parties in NSW joined forces a year ago to support draconian regulations to make it a crime punishable by up to 2 years in jail and a $22,000 fine, to block entrances to train stations, ports and public and private infrastructure.

The implications of criminalising protest at iconic sites like Town Hall and Oxford Street is unimaginable to ordinary Australians who have watched and actively participated in protests across countless human rights issues. Rallies for Marriage Equality, Black Lives Matter, School Strike 4 Climate and May Day could all be illegal under these laws.

What can we do? What should we do?

Our panel, hosted by Professor Simon Rice, University Sydney Law School and Josh Pallas, President, New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties. will explore these questions. This is free event as part of a calendar of events celebrating 60 years of activism from The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties.

For more information, follow the link to the event.

Professor Simon Rice (OAM) is the Kim Santow Chair of Law and Social Justice at the University of Sydney Law School, and a consultant lawyer at Chalk & Behrendt. Simon has practised extensively in poverty law in community legal centres, particularly anti-discrimination law.  He has been President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, and an adviser to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights.  He has encountered the police while observing protests.   

Josh Pallas (he/him) is the President of the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties. Josh is also PhD Candidate at the University of Sydney Law School researching at the intersection of criminal and public law. He was previously a criminal and public lawyer in both government and private practice. Josh has published in criminal law and taught in a range of law and international relations subjects at the University of Sydney and University of Wollongong.

Amal Naser is a Palestinian organiser and third-generation refugee. She lives on unceded Bidjigal land. Amal is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at UNSW. She is currently conducting a critical analysis of the criminalisation of protest in liberal democracies using Marxist State Theory for her law honours project. Amal has a strong interest in the intersection of the law and the rights of Indigenous persons and was the Human Rights Defender intern at the Australian Human Rights Institute for summer 2022/23.

Dr Jeff Gordon is a Lecturer at the University of Sydney Law School. Jeff specialises in free speech and judicial federalism, most recently writing on the law of protest during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jeff’s work spans public and private law, exploring free expression, judicial federalism, speech torts, non-disclosure agreements and equitable relief.

Luc Velez (he/him) is a student activist organising on stolen Gadigal and Bidjigal land. Passionate about economic and environmental justice, Luc was the 2022 National Education Officer of the National Union of Students. He has been involved in national campaigns on climate justice, free education and student unionism reforms. Luc is studying a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at UNSW after having spent two years studying fashion in France.

Kavita Naidu (she/her) is a feminist climate activist and international human rights lawyer from Fiji-Australia specialising in climate justice for grassroots women in all their diversity in Asia and the Pacific. With over 16 years of diverse experience working in the Pacific, Asia and the UK, Kavita has worked at the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, government bodies and the private sector. Kavita was involved with the UN Free & Equal campaign in the Pacific, the Global Women’s Strike and the feminist bloc for the climate marches in COP25 & COP26. 

April 27, 2023 at 6:00pm - 8:30pm
University of Sydney Law School
Anne Charlton ·