Victorian Government stops free speech protest - 20 September 2001
Free Speech banned already???
See letter below for details:
Also go to:
WHISTLEBLOWERS AUSTRALIAPO BOX 599
PHONE: +61 3 XXX
FAX: +61 3 XXXX
SEPTEMBER 20 2001
TO/ Peter Balfe,
Acting Chief Executive,
VicRoads Head Office Administration
60 Denmark Street
Kew VIC 3101
Phone: (03) 9854-2029
Fax: (03) 9853-0512
UNLAWFUL DISRUPTION OF LAWFUL PROTEST
The purpose of this letter is to advise you of unlawful conduct by one of your subordinate employees, seek an immediate written undertaking that this will not occur again and to seek answers to some questions.
There have been several protests around Melbourne in prominent locations demonstrating against Rob Hulls and his attempts to gag free speech in Victoria, including in North Melbourne, the city centre and rural parts of the state.
Part and parcel of this has been two failed defamation actions against myself (Raymond Hoser), to which Hulls was a party and a more recent attempt to have me charged and convicted of contempt of court, in relation to two of my earlier corruption books.
These protests have always involved the use of banners and placards so that passing people can see what is being protested about.
Today at about 8.30 AM, one of your employees appeared at one such protest and unlawfully shut it down by threatening to rip down a banner being draped over a bridge running across the Eastern Freeway at Kew. The banner was affixed to the railing of the bridge only and did not protrude below the structure. The bridge was public property and over a public road to which all members of the public have unfettered and legal access.
We note that it is common for community groups and protestors to hang such things over large structures to gain exposure and have had legal advice that this is legal provided that the banner does not obstruct public signs, is not a permanent fixture (as in graffiti) and at least one person is in attendance while the banner is in place.
In today's instance, we conformed to all the above legal requirements.
We also note as of today there are similar banners in place (not involved with our protest) placed over Dandenong Road in the Caulfield/East. St. Kilda area) which are unattended and your department has not seen fit to impede.
Today at 8.30 AM, a single Vicroads employee who refused to give his name when asked, but eventually gave his name as "Tony" and was driving a "Road Patrol" truck, rego number: MAA-415, attended allegedly on instruction of someone "very high up in Vicroads" whom he said had seen the sign and demanded he ("Tony") pull it down.
"Tony's" aggressive conduct did in fact constitute an assault, and we suggest that you counsel him with regard to his unduly aggressive conduct.
"Tony" was advised that we intended carrying out this and similar protests in the lead up to the court case on 23 October this year, and we now ask you to direct him not to interfere with such lawful protests should he be present at any.
Due to the urgency of the matter and further protests planned we seek this undertaking from you (and on behalf of all your department's employees) in writing, before 5 PM today.
In the event that you do not wish to make such an undertaking, we ask that you make such an undertaking pending your obtaining a lawful court order banning us from protesting by hanging banners in the above-mentioned manner over bridges running over Victorian freeways and/or any other locations you may deem fit.
In the event that you make such an application, please note that we would seek to object to it and invoke articles 19 and 28 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and Australian High Court Free Speech precedents.
Finally, we would like to know A/ this "Tony" person's full name and position in your department and B/ Who in Vicroads issued the unlawful directive to have the banners removed. your department and B/ Who in Vicroads issued the unlawful directive to have the banners removed.
WARNING: Failure to properly acknowledge the receipt of this fax properly and immediately (within the time frame specified in this letter) may result in further and multiple copies being sent.
Earlier demo a success!
Victorian Government/Rob Hulls set to jail Hoser for telling the truth!
Peter Balfe's First reply to Hoser letter of 20 Sept 2001
Hoser's reply to Balfe's letter of 20 Sept 2001 - dated 21 Sept 2001