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.
“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.
“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
“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
"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
“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.
"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
"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
"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
"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
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