Brisbane in the dark about G20 police powers


More should have been done to educate the public about increased security measures and police powers, the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties said this week.

President Michael Cope said the powers are too vague and tensions between police and protesters can be heightened when people don’t understand the law.

“In Toronto, one of the problems was that people didn’t understand police powers,” he said.

Mr Cope said the government should have dedicated some of its advertising towards making people aware of what they could expect from police during the summit.

“There hasn’t been a concerted effort to educate the public,” he said.

“I don’t know why some money wasn’t spent on advertising.”

He said the little information that has been released has been buried under the deluge of publicity about transport changes and cultural events.

Georgia David, 19 and Mikaela Grant, 20. Photo: Matthew Williams
Georgia David, 19 and Mikaela Grant, 20. Photo: Matthew Williams

Mikaela Grant, 20, and Georgia David, 19 said they knew only that police would have increased power to make arrests and that people would be restricted as to where they could go during the summit.

“I’ve heard that they can basically arrest you for no apparent reason, that’s all I really know though,” Ms Grant said.

“I know that you have restricted freedom of being able to be out in public places,” Ms David said.

“I also know about arresting you if you’re suspicious, I know they don’t have to give warning or something and you won’t know until later, pretty much?”

Sheela, an accounting student, said she was unaware of the specifics of the Act but knew it would have an impact on city dwellers.

“I know there are specific rules for people living in and around the CBD,” she said.

On the streets of Brisbane’s CBD, most people were reluctant to talk about the security measures and said they didn’t know anything about them.

Many were also unaware of the difference between the declared zone and the restricted areas within it, thinking they were the same thing.

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