15 Jul. 2008

Right to annoy constitutionally protected

Australian federal judicial authorities have struck down the outlawing of annoying behaviour towards World Youth Day pilgrims in NSW. This is a significant, but of course incomplete, victory. Political activity that disrupts physically ('inconveniences') the operation of the shebang is remains illegal.

Update: Interesting article in the Herald today by two UNSW legal scholars. Their claim is that the judgment is really anomalous: it's based only on the claim that parliament somehow did not intend to pass an element of the legislation it did pass. As such, it's really a dubious judgment, one that is more by accident than by any check or balance other than the sheer existence of judicial oversight. This really boils down to something that everyone should know, although probably rather few do, namely that there is no overarching protection of freedom of speech in Australia.