Albury City Council Clarifies Their Position to Mourik and Friends

Pieter Mourik claimed in the Border Mail today that he had council support for his plan to shut down the freedom to protest peacefully in front of the Albury abortion clinic.  Albury City Council press release:

 

Tuesday 11 February 2014

 

Council clarifies protesting issue

AlburyCity has advised organisers of a petition seeking the banning of protesting outside a medical clinic in Englehardt Street to table their petition with State Government.

AlburyCity Mayor Cr Kevin Mack confirmed that the State Government was better positioned to legislate for the exclusion zones being sought by petitioners, not the local Council.

“This is not a debate about personal opinions or beliefs, it’s a matter of law and in this circumstance the State Government is the most suitable authority for implementing and enforcing legislation,” he said. “Our powers under the Local Government legislation are limited in dealing with these matters so we have encouraged the organisers to take up their cause with, and present their petition to, the State Government.”

“We support their right to petition. We support the right of anyone to participate in a peaceful protest, and we support the right for anyone to seek medical assistance free from harassment. The issue is not something that can be resolved by a Council by-law. This is a complex social issue that goes far beyond Albury and it’s important that groups work with the relevant tier of Government. In this case, it is the State Government.”

Mayor Mack said that any patrons of the clinic who experienced intimidation, violence and anti-social behaviour needed to immediately contact Police. AlburyCity has consulted with NSW Police on this matter and they have indicated that any concerns in this regard should be directed to their officers.

Street Activities Policy
AlburyCity’s Street and Outdoor Activities Policy does not currently allow for the establishment of exclusion zones around selected properties. The Street and Outdoor Activities Policy regulates street advertising and promotion, building access, infrastructure, articles and on street dining but does not apply to congregations of people. Laws relating to public protesting are legislated by the Commonwealth and the State, and most appropriately enforced by the Police.

 

 

 

 

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