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If your organisation is organising a campaign or protest, it is worth spending a short amount of time (before your campaign or protest starts) to understand the laws that might apply to your activities.
Laws to consider are:
- defamation - to make sure that you are not liable for defaming someone during your campaign or protest
- safety - to make sure that everyone involved is safe and understands laws that apply, and
- council or city regulations about large public gatherings or activities that may disrupt traffic or public transport.
Activist Rights is a specialist website developed to provide the Victorian community with information about activists' rights. The website was developed by the Fitzroy Legal Service, with support from the Victorian Law Foundation and the Reichstein Foundation. Its contributors include many lawyers from across the Victorian community legal sector.
See in particular the Activist Legal Information tab and the Legal issues for organisations link under that tab.
Although there is no obligation to inform police of a planned campaign or protest, it is recommended that you do. In order to inform the police, you need to send a notice addressed to the Commissioner of Police at Police Headquarters, 1 Charles Street, Parramatta NSW 2150.
Provided you give the police at least 7 days’ notice of the campaign or protest, the police cannot oppose it unless they apply to a Court to prohibit the public assembly. Once the police have been notified, and provided that the campaign or protest is held substantially in line with the notice, a person cannot be guilty of participating in an unlawful assembly or obstructing any person, vehicle or vessel in a public place by taking part in the campaign or protest.
An unlawful assembly is any group of five or more people, with the aim of compelling any other person to do, or refrain from doing, any action by intimidation or injury.