In opposition to the Baillieu government’s proposed fine for “offensive language or behaviour”, about 1000 people marched on June 25 at the aptly named “Fuckwalk”.
The rally was the second event held in response to new powers that allow police to issue $240 on-the-spot fines for using language they deem “offensive”.
Initiated through Facebook, organisers said they were surprised at the big turnout.
Under the changes, people cannot object to the fine to court, thus excluding the judicial system from the law process. In addition, the law is not defined any further than “offensive behaviour and language”.
This leaves the interpretation of the law solely to the police. It means these laws will most likely be used against “social undesirables”, such as the homeless; teenagers and activists.
Migrants and Indigenous people are also likely to be targeted.
Speakers at the rally pointed out that instead of proper funding for areas in need, such as our struggling health system, public transport and state school system, the government is allocating more funding to law and order policies.
This includes the formation of new riot squads, armed guards at train stations, new mandatory jail terms for 16-17 year olds that commit “gross acts of violence” and an extra $3.5 billion on new “super jails”.
The Baillieu government is slowly turning Victoria into a police state. The fact so many people are willing to stand up for their right to free speech shows an opposition to not only the law itself, but the law and order crusade that is removing our rights.
[Alexander Mags is a member of Resistance. A “Call to action against the new swearing in public law” will take place on July 17 at 12pm outside the Victorian Parliament.]