Occupied Palestinian Territories and Byron Council’s Draconian Rules

Dear Mr Hill (Byron Shire compliance officer),

Council’s requirements for us (Byron Friends of Palestine) to use Railway Park are extremely draconian and seem designed to thwart any spontaneous community action; fortunately we do not live in the Occupied Palestinian Territories but it is increasingly beginning to feel as though we do.

For example, Council requires 3 months’ notice of an event! How can we react to urgent news like the decision by John Howard to affiliate Australia with the American invasion of Iraq and satisfy this? If Israel attacks Iran we will need to protest loudly but will we have to give Council 12 weeks’ notice?

Again, Council will not accept a sworn affidavit that Byron Friends of Palestine, which comprises only a few of us and does not have a formal structure, is not for profit and furthermore does not have a bank account or any funds.

 Does this mean that Council will only approve groups which are rich enough and big enough to be incorporated charities?

How do you expect ordinary citizens of conscience like ourselves (sic) to express our democratic right to free speech?

If we are banned from the Park we will have to take to the streets but either way we will not be silenced.

Yours in solidarity with the Palestinian people,

Gareth W R Smith

On 22 March 2013 13:29, Hill, Andrew <andrew.hill@byron.nsw.gov.au wrote:

Dear Mr Smith, I have been informed that you intend to use Railway Park in Byron Bay for an event on Saturday 23 March 2013 as part of “Apartheid Israel Week”.

I have also been informed that you have not obtained approval from Council to hold this event on Council managed community land. Council staff have provided you with all necessary information which would enable you to make an application for the issue of the licence but you have declined to proceed with your application.

You have not paid the required fees for processing your application or provided the required evidence for not-for-profit status and have informed staff that “Our event will take place as advertised on Saturday with or without formal approval.”

You are advised that if you hold an event on Council managed land without consent, Council may consider and take enforcement action against you in accordance with Council’s Enforcement Policy, which may involve the issue of a Court Attendance Notice.

Yours sincerely Andrew Hill Compliance Officer Byron Shire Council

Ph: (02) 6626 7064 Fax: (02) 6684 3018

— Gareth W R Smith Byron Bay NSW 2481 Australia Tel: (61)2-66807360 MOB: 0422298165

“Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire

George Orwell, ‘Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.’

“The sleep of reason produces monsters.” Goya

One thought on “Occupied Palestinian Territories and Byron Council’s Draconian Rules

  1. Recognise Palestine! says:

    Hello Gareth,

    I thought Byron was a Greens shire – the federal greens recognise Palestine why not the local Greens in Byron?

    See Greens motion in the senate in 2011 when Julia Gillard opposed UN motion for a Palestinian state – also Senator Claire Moore has displayed some sympathy for the Palestinians – see http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansards%2F7952938e-f370-41b4-b0c8-621a674ae4e0%2F0070%22

    Senator BOB BROWN (Tasmania—Leader of the Australian Greens)I move:

    That the Senate—

    (a) notes the asseveration of the Prime Minister (Ms Gillard) that, in the issue of relations between Palestine and Israel, ‘direct negotiation is the only true path to peace’;

    (b) recognises that negotiations are most likely to succeed if they are between equals; and

    (c) backs the United Nations initiative for recognition of Palestine as a member state.

    Question put.

    (The Deputy President—Senator Parry)

    Question negatived.

    ALP Senators (including Claire Moore) opposed the motion.

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