This evening (September 21st) I have received a very interesting email from Bill Rowlings, who is the Secretary of Civil Liberties Australia (CLA).
He has told me the following: “In the ACT and Victoria, people already have the chance to argue their case for the right to take photos under human rights legislation. The issue has not yet arisen in these jurisdictions, but it will. Note that both Acts give ACT and Victorian residents rights ‘regardless of borders’ and ‘whether within or outside Victoria’. Under Australian law, NSW is obliged to respect the laws of Victoria.”
And on that basis, Queensland has to respect the laws of Victoria as well. I recently had a friend from Melbourne who told me that she would (technically) need a permit to publish images from a bushwalking trip that she was doing in central Queensland. Given that the bushwalking trip she was undertaking was going to last six days, she would have had to pay the Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service (QPWS) in excess of $150 to publish these images if the QPWS had decided to enforce their bizarre regulations.
Anyway, this is the relevant section of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.
15. Freedom of expression
(1) Every person has the right to hold an opinion without interference.
(2) Every person has the right to freedom of expression which includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, whether within or outside Victoria and whether –
(a) orally; or
(b) in writing; or
(c) in print; or
(d) by way of art; or
(e) in another medium chosen by him or her.
(3) Special duties and responsibilities are attached to the right of freedom of expression and the right may be subject to lawful restrictions reasonably necessary –
(a) to respect the rights and reputation of other persons; or
(b) for the protection of national security, public order, public health or public morality.
I sincerely doubt that the “lawful restrictions” that can be imposed upon freedom of expression would extend to the right of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service or certain local councils in Sydney to act like modern-day bushrangers.