We have just had a huge win for our democracy with the Supreme Court ruling that harsh anti-protest laws that were introduced by the Coalition and supported by Labor are unconstitutional.
While the decision today is welcome, undemocratic laws remain in place criminalising street protesters and infringing on our right to civil disobedience, with protestors who take to the streets still facing up to two years in jail, a $22,000 fine, or both.
The laws, rushed through parliament last year, have been widely-condemned by over 230 civil society and human rights groups. Since then, we have seen protestors targeted, searched, jailed and facing harsh and restrictive bail conditions under an anti protest regime that is contrary to our fundamental right of political communication in this country.
These draconian laws should never have been passed, and whilst still enshrined threaten the fabric of our democracy, and our rights to peacefully protest in the face of growing injustice.
With the recent decision from the Supreme Court ruling that sections 214A (1) (c) and (d) are constitutionally invalid, now is the time to pressure both the Premier and the Attorney General to take significant steps to repeal in full the serious impingement on democratic rights in New South Wales. This ruling provides a valuable window of opportunity to reverse the alarming crackdown, pursuit and punishment of protestors and to advocate instead for the protection of this important democratic freedom.