Is there a right to protest in Australia?


AHRCentre project director on Digital Media and human rights Daniel Joyce writes for the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences that:

Protest movements have helped to shape the world we live in. We associate protest with revolution, democracy and social movements. It takes varying forms and locations from the classic street protest and occupation to digital media activism (or clicktivism as its critics maintain). In 2011 Time magazine declared ‘the protestor’ to be its person of the year – ‘the defining trope of our times’ and ‘once again… a maker of history’. Here in Australia protest is seen as a critical aspect of our democratic society. It is practised, dismissed as messy and inconvenient, mythologised, celebrated and even outlawed.

But if protest is so fundamentally linked to our system of democratic politics, how is it protected in our legal system? Is there in fact a right to protest? This is a difficult question for a legal system that is federal in nature and lacking a bill of rights. But is it too easy then to say that there is no right to protest because it cannot be found in the Australian constitution?


Read more by Daniel Joyce from the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences website at: