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Law in Context

Abstract from Volume 17 No 1 (2000) Criminal Justice in Diverse Communities

Policing and Self-policing in the Shadow of the Law: Negotiating Space for Public Dissent

Mary Heath

Heath, focusing on the policing of public dissent, argues that political activists often find themselves constructed as criminals who fall beyond the boundaries of the democratic community. While our criminal justice system may pay lip-service to the need to tolerate political diversity, Heath suggests that, in practice, the exercise of police discretion combines with a measure of self-policing by activists to impose substantial restrictions upon political dissent, thereby limiting the diversity of political activity within Australian society.

(1999) 17(1) Law in Context 15
Keywords: Policing; Political Dissent; Freedom of Association

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