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CPD Program: COVID-19 and the Changing Face of the Right to Protest

When: 11 March 2021, 6-8pm

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed and restricted the way people organise, as a wave of public health orders restricted social interaction in an effort to protect public health. Without a bill of rights the Australian legal system has lacked a clear mechanism with which to test the compliance of this new regulation with fundamental human rights.

The NSW Society of Labor Lawyers is pleased to be hosting a CPD event on the changing face of the right to protest in NSW, with Stephen Lawrence (Barrister, Black Chambers) and Rose Jackson MLC (Member of the NSW Legislative Council).

Our guests will be discussing a range of issues including:

  • What is the legal basis for the ‘right to protest’ in Australia?
  • What is the regime for exercising the ‘right to protest’ in NSW?
  • How can an application for an authorised assembly be brought in NSW?
  • How has the process changed since the onset of COVID-19?
  • What right is there to appeal prohibitions on the right to protest?
  • What were the key findings of the decision in Paul Rassi v Commissioner of Police (the Black Lives Matter protest appeal)?
  • What shortcomings has the pandemic exposed in our protection of human rights?

Mr Lawrence appeared in the successful June 2020 Black Lives Matter appeal (Raul Bassi v Commissioner of Police (NSW) [2020] NSWCA 109) and recently for 2021 Survival Day organisers challenging the Health Minister’s refusal to make a decision on an application to “authorise” the event. With a team of other barristers he is defending a large group of persons charged with protest-related public health order offences. He has also defended political protestors in lengthy criminal proceedings in Solomon Islands and Nauru. He is also the Country Labor Deputy Mayor of the Dubbo region and a former state candidate.

Ms Jackson has been a Member of the Legislative Council since May 2019 and an advocate for progressive legal reform in many areas including prisons and criminal justice. She serves as Member of the Legal Affairs Portfolio Committee and the Standing Committee on Social Issues. She was previously Assistant General Secretary of NSW Labor and has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons I) and Bachelor of Economics (Social Science) from the University of Sydney.

If this educational activity is relevant to your immediate or long-term needs in relation to your professional development and practice of the law, then you can claim one point per hour of formal presentation (1 Substantive Law CPD Point).


March 11, 2021 at 6:00pm - 8pm

Will you come?