Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Morris might find this annoying

It's official, you can be annoying. God-annoying being the offset account for God-bothering, which is clearly more deserving of legislative sanction than rainbow T-shirts.

Interesting ratio:

...the judge said the annoyance clause was invalid because it could not have been the intention of Parliament to make such vague and extensive limits to free speech.

Which is probably overly generous while at the same time, given we all know they really are capable of reaching such intention, may be a little problematic. Interested to read the judgement and consider whether this is a case of judicial activism or the provision really carried unforeseen consequences at law.

Either way it's a great end result for common sense and democratic health.

UPDATE: The judgement in Evans v NSW is on Austlii:

It is an important principle that Acts be construed, where constructional choices are open, so as not to encroach upon common law rights and freedoms. That principle dates back to the statement in Potter v Minahan (1908) 7 CLR 277 .... the legislature, through the expert parliamentary counsel who prepare draft legislation, may be taken to be aware of the principle of construction in Potter

Poor Counsel, somehow I doubt they had final say on the form of words used.

The principle of legality means that Parliament must squarely confront what it is doing and accept the political cost. Fundamental rights cannot be overridden by general or ambiguous words. This is because there is too great a risk that the full implications of their unqualified meaning may have passed unnoticed in the democratic process.

With respect your honour, there was no risk of that here!

UPDATE: Skepticlegals also have a parse of the issue.

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