Bail as political weapon

Bail has been used as a means of silencing Democratic Rights activists in Queensland for as long as I can remember. We give some examples after the arrest of a social media producer this week for alleged stalking the NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, who, in turn, stands accused of corruption.

During a street march against uranium mining and export (22 Oct 1977) march organisers, the Civil Liberties Co-ordinating Committee (CLCC) had to raise over $30K to get 418 people out of the watchouse on bail … people carrying the buckets were charge with illegally “collecting alms”.

At a subsequent march on the eve of a state election (11 November 1977) the 197 people arrested were prohibited from taking part in protests on election day. Twelve (12) more people were arrested outside a polling booth near Brisbane City Hall (from memory).

Democratic Rights activists announcing their intentions on 24 October 1977

Legal stoush in NSW between comedian and deputy Premier.

Comedian Jordan Shanks is now feeling the heat after his producer was arrested. The producer’s mother was assaulted by police following up a complaint by NSW Deputy Premier. Bail conditions set by police are predictably extreme.

Recently peace activists were prohibited under bail conditions from attending lawful peaceful protests against the Land Forces weapons expo at Brisbane’s convention centre. One was told that he could not attend any events within either 200 metres of the convention centre; others arrested were restricted to 500 metres.

One of the organisers and I were excluded from South Bank for a number of months after we held a banner criticising the rule of Queen Elizabeth. South Bank corporation has special rules that attempt to contradict the Peaceful Assemblies Act 1992.

A similar tactic was used against first nations activists trying to carry on cultural and political activities in Musgrave park in 2012 on the 30th anniversary of the Commonwealth Games Land Rights protests.

None of this repression is nearly as extreme as what happens on a daily basis in Palestine where Israeli military assassinate teenagers protesting their illegal occupation condoned by the the United Nations since 1947.

Australian SAS have engaged in their own war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq as reported by the military.

The comedy of Jordan Shanks may be mocking and puerile, all the more reason for the authorities to take a step back and not to use the full force. Here is a report just in:

Ian Curr
15 June 2021