• Petitioned Candidates for the Melbourne City Council elections

This petition was delivered to:

Candidates for the Melbourne City Council elections

Candidates for the Melbourne City Council elections: Commit to an independent inquiry.

    1. Petition by

      Real Democracy Australia

The United Nations describes democracy as a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.

The citizens of Melbourne are still calling for an independent inquiry into the eviction of the peaceful 'Occupy Melbourne' protests from City Square one year on.

We need to see a report detailing the actions and decisions that lead up to that eviction. An inquiry such as this would help establish exactly what happened, which powers were exercised, and who was responsible for the decisions and actions undertaken.

The people of Melbourne have a right to express concerns in public spaces, as outlined in both the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities and implied in the Australian Constitution.

An independent inquiry and improved transparency around decision making processes and outcomes will act to reduce the probability that scenes such as those witnessed on October 21st will recur again in Melbourne.

We ask you to commit to an independent inquiry into the eviction of Occupy Melbourne if you are elected onto the Melbourne City Council.

 

Please find attached statements in support of an independent inquiry being held.

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“Why wouldn’t an independent inquiry clear the air if your so sure everything was done that was absolutely proper and appropriate?”

Radio presenter Jon Faine to Lord Mayor Robert Doyle in relation to the Occupy Melbourne eviction.

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“At Council I also put forward two motions so that everyone could better understand the events that occurred around the Occupy Melbourne eviction.

Firstly I supported the call for an independent inquiry into the forced eviction of Occupy Melbourne from City Square; Secondly I called for a report detailing the chronology of the key City of Melbourne actions and decisions leading up to the eviction.

Either of these actions if passed would have allowed some clarity and lessons to be learned regarding freedom of speech and public protest in the City of Melbourne. Disappointingly neither Motion was past and we missed the chance for an important conversation not only within Townhall but across the community."

Dr Cathy Oke, Councillor City of Melbourne

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“The Council Minutes confirm that I voted in support of the Motion calling for an independent inquiry.

I then seconded the Motion requesting a report detailing the chronology of the key City of Melbourne actions and decisions leading up to the eviction at the City Square on 21 October.

It is regrettable that both Motions were lost.

I remain of the view that an independent inquiry and the report would have been most valuable in clarifying the complexities of this event and that Council failed to take this opportunity to learn from the way this event evolved in case Council should face a similar event in the future.”

Dr. Jackie Watts, Councillor City of Melbourne

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"As a City of Melbourne Councillor I seconded the motion to support the Occupy Melbourne protestors call for an independent inquiry into their eviction and spoke in favour of Council support.

Further, I also supported a request for a report detailing the chronology of the key City of Melbourne actions and decisions leading up to the eviction in order to clearly understand the facts and to set the record straight.

My position has not altered."

Jennifer Kanis MP State Member for Melbourne

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“Ted Baillieu and Robert Doyle have made a huge blunder by sending in the police, turning a week-long non-violent protest into a site of confrontation”

Mr Bandt. (Greens Deputy Leader) in relation to Occupy Melbourne eviction.

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"As recently as this week, more than nine months after the police action, the Lord Mayor is still refusing to engage in questions associated with the eviction… it's the responsibility of the Lord Mayor to be accessible, and transparent in her or his decision making."

Greens Lord Mayor candidate Dr Alison Parkes

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"Liberty Victoria affirms the value of freedom of speech and assembly in a democratic society. These are rights contained in the Victorian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and in international human rights treaties to which Australia is a party. It is a serious matter when fundamental rights of this kind are displaced in favour of commercial considerations as happened in the case of the Occupy Melbourne protest"

Professor Spencer Zifcak President of Liberty Victoria

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"I was one of those present at City Square during the eviction on October 21 2011. As I walked around inside the police barricades and talked with police and occupiers, I took the role of humanising the two groups to one another in an attempt to de-escalate what was clearly a volatile situation. As it turned out, the physical violence that day was perpetrated by only one side: the police. Their heavy-handed tactics left me shocked and appalled."

Reverend Simon Moyle

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"I wholeheartedly support the call for an independent inquiry into the eviction of Occupy Melbourne from City Square. An independent inquiry could investigate the appropriateness and legality of the police and local government response, what led to these responses, the extent to which these responses increased or decreased public peace and order, and how things could be improved in the future. An independent enquiry could hopefully also investigate the wider contexts surrounding this event: such as issues surrounding the nature of Victoria Police training, police approaches to protests more broadly, as well as the impact of increasing privatisation of Melbourne city space on citizen access to public democratic space."

Dr Peta Husper-Malins, Lecturer in Legal Studies, School of Social Sciences, La Trobe University

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Good news - silver lining.

      There is a silver lining, six out of the eleven councilors are not stooges for Robert Doyle. Because of all the lobbying we have been doing and the fantastic report on the eviction that the legal team has produced we should be able to get an independent inquiry into the eviction of Occupy Melbourne at the first sitting of the new council.

      So please Tweet your support for an independent inquiry using the #melbvotes hashtag and put 5pm Tuesday, 13th Nov, in your diary the first council meeting.

      Stay tuned for more updates, and if you have any ideas for what else we should do please comment below.

    2. Robert Doyle Re-elected

      Robert Doyle has been re-elected as Mayor of Melbourne despite serious allegations of corruption surrounding his campaign.

      This is because:

      -The Kennett government laid a road to corporatocracy in Melbourne. The disproportional voting system, that sees business get two votes, means anyone running on any platform that values community, sustainability and democracy does not have a chance of getting voted in.

      -It is estimated he spent around $500,000 on his campaign to be re-elected. More than all the other candidates combined.

      -A KEY member of lord mayor Robert Doyle's election team organised a series of meetings with city developers in which they were asked for tens of thousands of dollars each for the Doyle campaign in return for Town Hall access.

      -Team Doyle refused to disclose their campaign funders.

      The re-election of Robert Doyle is proof that the voting system in Melbourne is unproportionally weighted in favour of big business.

    3. Action: Sunday, October 21, 2012

      Here is the next action planned to bring attention to our ongoing call for an independent inquiry into the eviction of Occupy Melbourne:

      https://www.facebook.com/events/112

      October 21 last year saw the heavy-handed, violent, unnecessary (and technically illegal) removal of people from City Square, peacefully protesting as part of Occupy Melbourne against the way their government functions...

      This year, join your friends and fellow 'Occupiers' on October 21 for three silent vigils outside State Parliament, the Melbourne Town Hall and Victoria Police CBD East Station, to peacefully mark the one year anniversary of what was one of the most visible instances of state oppression in Melbourne in recent memory.

      Bring: Enlarged images of Oct 21 (eviction day), white ribbons and other ideas for powerful silent protest.

      Sunday, October 21, 2012

      12:45pm - meet at State Parliament
      1:00pm - State Parliament silent vigil
      1:30pm - Town Hall silent vigil
      2:00pm - Victoria Police silent vigil

    4. Seven out of nine teams

      Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 12am

      Seven out of nine teams running in the City of Melbourne local government elections this month say they will conduct an independent inquiry into the heavy-handed eviction of Occupy Melbourne from City Square in October last year, the ‘Forward Together’ ticket is undecided, leaving only ‘Team Doyle’ refusing to commit to an inquiry.

    5. 'PUT PUBLIC FIRST' Policy for the City of Melbourne:

      I think it should be noted that a couple of the teams running for the local election have already supported an inquiry:

      'PUT PUBLIC FIRST' Policy for the City of Melbourne:

      "While everybody else is trying to ignore the way Occupy Melbourne was violently evicted by the Victoria Police after being given the nod by the Lord Mayor, we want to rename City Square Human Rights Square and use City Square as a focus for political and social activity, not commercial activities."

      http://anarchistmedia.org/city.html

      Dr. Joseph Toscano Candidate for Lord Mayor

      Dr. Jean Ely Candidate for Deputy Lord Mayor

    6. Australian Greens (Victoria) policy for the City of Melbourne:

      I think it should be noted that a couple of the teams running for the local election have already supported an inquiry:

      Australian Greens (Victoria) policy for the City of Melbourne:
      "Commission a full review of local laws to ensure that the right to protest peacefully without adversely affecting others on City-owned or managed land is supported in accordance with the requirements of section 15 of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, which guarantees freedom of expression."

      http://www.melbournecitygreens.com/democracy

      Dr Alison Parkes
      Greens Candidate for Lord Mayor
      David Collis
      Greens Candidate for Deputy Lord Mayor

      Councillor Ticket
      Dr Cathy Oke
      Greens Lead Candidate for Melbourne City Council
      Rohan Leppert
      Greens Candidate for Melbourne City Council
      Lachlan Rhodes
      Greens Candidate for Melbourne City Council
      Jennifer Podesta
      Greens Candidate for Melbourne City Council
      Philip Thiel
      Greens Candidate for Melbourne City Council

      Let's put Town Hall back into local hands.

      Australian Greens (Victoria) policy for the City of Melbourne Background As the tier of Government closest to the people, Local Government should be engaged in a system of democratic decision-making that is as accessible and consultative as practicably possible.

    7. We hit the news - 'Occupy group gets top-end support'

      We have done well people. Thanks to everyone that has signed the petition big name candidates for the upcoming election have committed to an independent inquiry.
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      http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/occupy-group-gets-topend-support-20121008-279ec.html
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      Can everyone please call talkback radio and put it on the agenda.
      -
      And please share the petition to your friends and family.
      -
      http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/candidates-for-the-melbourne-city-council-elections-commit-to-an-independent-inquiry
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      Keep up the great work.
      -
      See you on October the 13th at #globalNOISE Melbourne.
      -
      The day starts at 11.00am - We will all meet at the 8 Hour Monument next to Trades Hall and then march to City Square banging our pots and pans.

      Occupy group gets top-end support

      Police were out in full force at last year's protest. Photo: Justin McManus HIGH-PROFILE candidates in the Melbourne City elections - including Gary Morgan and John Elliott - say they will support an independent inquiry into the eviction of Occupy Melbourne protesters last year.

    8. Reached 250 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Helen Cox MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
      • over 1 year ago

      Robert Doyle, the Melbourne City Council and the Victorian Police force have clearly shown contempt for the importance of political expression and freedom of assembly as human rights in their treatment of Occupy Melbourne. As a witness to this violent and unlawful eviction and the ongoing harassment of protesters and occupiers in the following months I am fully committed to campaigning for an inquiry into the eviction of the 21st of November, 2011. This is a day I can never forget.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tate Simpson WANGARATTA, AUSTRALIA
      • over 1 year ago

      Occupy Melbourne

      This is a letter I found sitting on the ground at the Treasury Gardens yesterday. (November the 15th 2011)

      I opened it up and it was to Occupy Melbourne written on the day after the Eviction, october 22nd.

      This letter magically happened to be written by Rex Pirie (Rex was a teacher at my High School in Wangaratta, he became the vice principal after I finished - I found it very synchronistic that I happened to pick it up in a park I resided at for a few weeks) :) and I want to share it with the 99%. This is relevant here due to Doyle being re-elected, and his actions last year were beyond inhumane, and the community lets him get away with it?! I don't get it. People are so against activists and for what reasons... Is it because they are scared? They see the police and think, oh my I can't stand up for my rights, I will get thrown in prison. I'll just keep my mouth shut and my kids can face worse circumstances than I but that's okay I wont be around for much longer so it wont bother me..

      Well that is just plain cowardice.

      Solidarity people. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead.

      Read this letter from a great man himself, Rex understands who is the future of this world, and the people holding back those people should be the ones that need to wake up and move on....

      -Tate Simpson

      Occupy Melbourne 2011

      We made these people. We gave birth to these kids. We raised them. We taught them to walk, to speak, to think, to debate, to challenge. We helped teach them to appreciate their good fortune to be born into a democracy and a free and tolerant society; we helped give them the voice to challenge us to make us all stronger and better. Yes, I'm proud that we did that.

      I went to the City Square on Saturday 15th October and watched their demonstration form. I went there on Thursday 20th to get to know who they were, what their story was; why they were there; what they wanted; how they were going about it.

      I walked in, a stranger in a suit; I was welcomed, offered food and water. People spoke to me, I talked to them, and they explained to me what they were doing and why.

      I realised that they were all kids - I call them kids because as a parent, and nearly 50 years old, they are kids to me. My kids. Your kids. Our kids. I saw a community of young adults. That's when I chose to offer to help. I have a car, time, resources. I drove around town with some of them that night collecting donations of furniture.

      They asked me about ways to set up delegations of the mandate of the General Assembly for the authority and accountability of a subcommittee to manage the finances of the group. They had received about $1,000 in donations and wanted to make sure they had an equitable, democratic and accountable system in place to use it.

      They told me about how they wanted to establish good liaison with the police. They told me about how every member of the community was delegated to be a police and public liaison person. They staunchly had no leader. They decided everything after discussion at frequent and regular General Assemblies.

      At the core of every conversation I heard a clear and simple set of moral principles; equality, equity, justice, compassion and generosity. They expressed these values with passion, humour, politeness and showed more trust than fear, more humour than anger, more hope than cynicism.

      I am proud I helped and saw how they operated. I was proud to see a peaceful and democratic community come together in the very heart of our city.

      I arrived on Friday 21st morning to see our kids herded into a small square fenced in with 2 metre high barricades. Lined up in front of them were about 50 riot police equipped with helmets, shields and batons. Surrounding all of this were hundreds of police.

      These are our kids: the product of all our love and efforts standing in the rain like cattle while their camp was being destroyed, smashed and thrown into garbage trucks. Our kids were surrounded by police in the middle of our city.

      I spoke to members of the police cordon; one asked me if I was with the media. I was dressed in a suit carrying a bag - I could have passed for media. So I said I was and I was allowed through to stand with the other media. The police cordon was keeping all people away - allowing no one in. I asked a police what they were going to do. When? Why? Where to? How? None of them knew or would tell me. They were 'just waiting for orders'.

      Then the police moved in and started picking out 'leaders' and dragging them out of the group. They forced the community out onto Swanston St. If the strategy on the part of the police was to disperse the community they significantly underestimated the community's cohesiveness. The police clearly did not understand what they were dealing with.

      Young people had been arrested, kids bloodied, hurt. The community reformed in the intersection of Collins and Swanston and sat down. They sang and chanted and drew themselves back together. They protected each other, supported and grew stronger in the face of violence. They were exposed in the middle of the street, surrounded by police, police cars, vans, mounted police and police with dogs.

      I was part of a crowd of hundreds who stayed to serve as witness and document this. Citizens who each contribute in our little ways to the society that serves and protects us. Our city, our police and our kids.

      I was witness to brutality, violence, stupidity and ignorance. Our society failed me. Our society failed our kids. I stood witness to the integrity of a democratic movement being trampled, attacked and charged by mounted police in my city.

      The police charged, led by 6 mounted officers, they forced the community up Swanston St. The police cordon forced the witnesses along the footpath, pushing, punching, and violently threatening us. People like me, witnesses like me.

      This community of young people are our kids. They are our young people. They are the future. We should never have to stand as witnesses to them being treated brutally, violently in our city. They should not have been treated this way.

      My face twisted, tears welled up, a lump formed in my throat and stomach and made me sick as I saw people we raised; expressing the ideals we taught them in the city we gave them, be brutally treated. No one should ever see a society turn on its own kids this way.

      Our politicians showed no understanding, no compassion, and no imagination. Whoever directed the police showed no strategy, they underestimated the community and caused the disruption to the city.

      I am not proud of our leaders and the police.

      Our young people showed strength, patience, bravery, compassion, integrity and never lost sight of the cause. Their chants and songs continued to show us where the real strength of democracy lies.

      Their peaceful actions, their passive resistance, remind us where true strength lies.

      We who took the time to understand them, witnessed their community come together, saw it develop, and then stand up under the most violent treatment should be proud of our young people.

      I am proud of them.

      Rex Pirie

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    • Khoa Huynh AUSTRALIA
      • almost 2 years ago

      If there's any wrong doing made by Victoria Police.

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    • Charlene Grainger CLAYTON, AUSTRALIA
      • almost 2 years ago

      I have personally witnessed Victorian police using excessive force against unarmed, non-violent citizens on several occasions. People have the right to assemble in a public space. There needs to be a full inquiry!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dr. Joseph Toscano AUSTRALIA
      • almost 2 years ago

      The ability of people to freely assemble and demonstrate in open public space is a fundamental human right in any democratic society. The violent removal of Occupy Melbourne by Victoria Police, after given the nod by the Premier Ted Baillieu and the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, is something that should never have occurred in this City.

      Ultimately, it demonstrates that those who exercise a monopoly on the use of violence – the state, even in a so called democratic society, relies on violence when faced with people peacefully exercising their rights as citizens.

      I don’t believe an inquiry will be conducted fairly into what happened while the current Lord Mayor and Premier exercise power. One small thing we can do to ensure that this disgraceful episode in this City’s history is remembered forever is for City Square to be renamed Human Rights Square.

      - Dr. Joseph Toscano / Mayoral Candidate 2012

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