20 January 2017
ATA Condemns “Keep Sydney Open Rally” Ban As Attack On Free Speech & Fundamental Democratic Values
The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, a non partisan grassroots advocacy organisation dedicated to representing Australia’s taxpayers, today attacked a ruling by the NSW Supreme Court to ban a peaceful protest by opponents of the NSW Lockout laws following an application by the NSW Police. The last minute ruling came after an estimated 10,000 NSW Residents were set to gather for a peaceful protest in the Sydney CBD followed by music performances and DJs in Hyde Park.
“Freedom of speech and freedom of association are at the heart of western liberal democracy – and this decision flies in the face of these fundamental principles” said Tim Andrews, Executive Director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. "It is simply UnAustralian".
“Keep Sydney Open rallies have been characterised by their high degree of professionalism, their friendly nature, and the complete absence of any violence or trouble whatsoever. There was no credible reason whatsoever for NSW Police to make this last minute application other than a deliberate attempt to supress the freedom of speech of NSW Residents who oppose this failed policy. The NSW Police Force has been a vocal proponent of the lockout laws – and this is a blatant case of them attempting to shut down any dissenting thought”.
“NSW Police is an arm of the Executive Government, and the buck stops with them. As such, we call upon Gladys Berejiklian, Domenic Perrottet, and any other candidates for NSW Liberal Party Leadership positions, as well as NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley, to publicly condemn this decision. It is an undisputed fact that the arrogant and aloof handling of the lockout laws contributed to the resignation of Premier Baird. This is a time for the government to make a clean break from the past, and demonstrate their willingness to listen to NSW voters – even if they disagree.
“This is a test for the incoming Premier – do they have the courage to do the right thing, or will they seek to suppress all those who disagree with them. This is a vote-moving issue for a great many NSW voters, and as Mike Baird learned, any Premier who ignores their constituents will soon find themselves out of office. Don’t make the same mistake twice.”