DOI: 10.5176/2251-3809_LRPP15.20

Authors: Glenn Patmore


Democratisation is the process by which a State becomes democratic. If measured against the ideal of a liberal democracy, all countries may be viewed as moving continually towards or away from that democratic ideal. Historically, the term democratise referred to the movement of whole societies towards political and social equality. One aspect of democratisation will be considered: how a group, through public protest, participates in a democracy. This process will be examined in two ways. First, the paper considers the conditions for greater democratisation to occur through public protest. Second, it will examine a judicial response to protest as part of the process of democratisation focusing on the implied constitutional freedom of political communication in Australia. The case study will be Occupy Melbourne and the Federal Court case of Muldoon v MCC [2013] FCA 994. Attention will be paid especially to judicial responses to select conditions for greater democratisation through public protest. The analysis provides fertile ground for appraising the legal regulation of political protest in democratic states. This is an issue of importance not only to judges but to legal practitioners and public policy makers. The paper specifically addresses two conference themes by critically appraising foundational principles in public law and the protection of civil liberties in a democracy.

Keywords: constitutional law, public law, proportionality, occupy movement, protest, democracy, democratisation, interdisciplinary study.

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