Not as many attended as the Facebook page had promised, but there were still a good many voices on the steps of Parliament House raised in protest at the legislation before the House designed to make permanent the power of police officers to issue on-the-spot fines of $238.90 for swearing. The Swear-in was organised by Renegade Activists Action Force (RAAF), with Jacob Grech MC. Apart from three pre-arranged speakers – Colleen Hartland MLA of the Greens, Ali Hogg of Socialist Alternative and Equal Love Melbourne, and Sue Bolton of Socialist Alliance – some members of the rally also took the microphone at the end, including a representative of the members of Melbourne Anonymous who were present, and Emily, a teenager voicing disgust at being potentially penalised for simply being one, since virtually everyone she knew regularly swore… Another was Tanya, whose contribution figures on the accompanying YouTube footage.
Media were present in force, whether hoping for police intervention or simply drawn by the novelty of the occasion, but there was no trouble. Reports can be found on The Age website and ABC online. The footage given here is unfortunately not of the best quality, there being very little light except when the TV crews used their spotlights, but hopefully gives the essence of the protest. As Jacob said, it was possible to have some fun with the idea of a swear-in, but the implications of this kind of legislation were serious….
There is to be another protest on 25 June, this time taking the form of a ‘F***walk’ modelled on the recent SlutWalk.