Policing Protests in the Australian Capital Territory: The Introduction and Use of the Public Order Act 1971: the introduction and use of the Public Order Act 1971

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    Abstract

    his article examines the reaction by the Australian Federal Government to the protest movements of the 1960s–1970s and their attempts to use public order legislation to thwart radical discontent in Australia. It argues that the Public Order (Protection of Persons and Property) Act 1971 was aimed at the threat of “violent” protests, particularly the tactic of the “sit-in”, and that to this end, the legislation was an overreaction to the actual threat posed by the protest movements at the time. It also shows that after a long gestation period, the Act was ill-equipped to deal with the changing nature of demonstrations in the 1970s, such as the problems caused by the erection of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Thus, after an initial flurry of use in mid-1971, the law has been seldom used since.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)92-108
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Australian Studies
    Volume40
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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