Monday, March 11, 2013

Rundle Mall street preachers and protesters. Picture: Noelle Bobrige. Source ... - The Australian


Rundle Mall street preachers and protesters. Picture: Noelle Bobrige. Source: adelaidenow

ADELAIDE'S controversial street preachers face bans on gathering in groups larger than four people, carrying more than one sign and approaching shoppers, as part of a new council crackdown.

Fresh from winning a High Court case over its controversial by-laws , Adelaide City Council is tomorrow night set to rubber-stamp a new street permit blueprint that includes tough guidelines for preaching.

Last month, a majority decision of Australia's highest court ruled the council could ban street preachers from Rundle Mall if they staged "prayer meetings" without a permit.

The court also overturned earlier SA decisions that the ban was unconstitutional, saying it "burdened" but did not prevent freedom of speech.

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The preachers, who were dubbed "xenophobic, homophobic and sexist" by Rundle Mall traders, will now be forced to apply for official permits before speaking in the CBD or North Adelaide.

Applications must be made to the council at least two business days before the activity and include personal details and photographic identification.

Watch this NEWSFORCE video of a Rundle Mall preacher breaking the decibel level. Video from Josh Reed.

For preachers, restrictions include:

USING no more than one hand-held sign, which must be less than one metre high.

GATHERINGS must be limited to four or fewer preachers and each must have a permit.

PREACHERS must stay at least 50 metres from buskers and other events.

PAMPHLETS cannot be passed out within five metres of a business or put on car windscreens.


Religious preachers protest in Rundle Mall. Two council officers tries to read a notice to one of the preachers. Picture: Campbell Brodie.

ADVERTISING "any product, service or sponsor" will be banned.

STAGES, podiums or other structures must not be used.

Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood did not respond to a request for comment yesterday. Street Church spokesman Caleb Corneloup said last night the group would challenge any laws brought in to prevent preaching on Adelaide streets.

"It's clearly biased against us and it's not a proper use of the law," he said. "If other entertainment venues that they set up themselves and support aren't an obstruction and they gather crowds of 100 or 150 people, then four preachers with a few banners isn't an obstruction."

Because the preachers represented themselves, the State Government must pay the bulk of legal costs - a bill that will ultimately be footed by taxpayers.


Rundle Mall street preachers and protesters. Picture: Noelle Bobrige

- with Thomas Conlin


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