F**kwalk Melbourne – Protest at Anti-Swearing Laws – 25 June 2011

Following on from the successful ‘Swear-in’ on June 3rd, opponents of the government’s proposed permanent legislation allowing for on-the-spot fines for indecent, offensive or disorderly language organised a ‘political fuckwalk’ from Flinders Street Station to the Bourke Street Mall on Saturday 25 June. The initial gathering at the station was rather chaotic, but once the walk got underway the message came over fairly loud and clear…

Once arrived at the mall the crowd was addressed by speakers from a convenient cherry-picker, while police and TV crews looked on…

The organisers’ media release:

WHAT: A political fuckwalk

WHEN: June 25th 2pm-3pm

WHERE: Flinders St steps to Bourke St Mall

WHY: In response to the governments proposal of permanent legislation for on-the-spot fines for indecent, offensive or disorderly language

In short;
We refuse to accept that swearing is indecent, offensive or disorderly language and can be punished with a $240 on-the-spot fine. We can not rely on police to hand out these fines fairly and feel their powers will be misused and hypocritical.
We aim to decriminalize swearing, as it does not represent the majority views of Australians. The proposal is undemocratic and will not stop violence or loutish behavior in the streets.

In long;

In 2008 the state government introduced a trial for police powers to issue on-the-spot fines of $238.90 to anyone deemed by an officer to have used indecent or offensive language in a public place. Since giving police these powers the number of offences related to public behavior shot up nearly 29 per cent between 2009/2010 and 2008/2009 year with most of the 8,266 offences committed on footpaths, streets and lanes. This proves that police are taking advantage of this law and issuing fines rather non-frugally and hypocritically.

Under the definition of “public place” in the Act, swearing is illegal on any public highway, road, street or bridge.
It is also illegal in any “race-course, cricket ground, football ground or other such place”
Also out of bounds is any “wharf, pier or jetty”
Swearing is also prohibited in “any public hall, theatre or room while members of the public are in attendance”.
Swearing is not permitted at “any licensed premises”. Frankly, if you swear, you’re fucked.

We aim to prove the difference between swearing and anti-social, offensive or violent fuckheaded behavior. In our view, violence, loutishness and fucking around like a total asshole is completely unacceptable and welcome laws to combat this. However combating swearing itself is not the answer.

RULES!!!: Just because you can swear does not mean you have to. The aim of the fuckwalk is so we can swear casually to express ourselves without punishment – not so we can swear excessively.
In no way are we condoning anti-social, aggressive or fuckhead behavior. Abusing police is absolutely not on. They are simply doing their job – governed by rules from fuckwit politicians.

Enjoy the fuckwalk responsibly and in accordance with the law.

Fuckwalk or fuck off!

Some photos from the different stages of the event:

At the station –

Some of the crowd at Flinder Street Station

At the station - Jakob Grech speaking

At one of the stalls - f**k hat

Dog in crowd at station

On the march –

Setting off up Swanston Street

Turning into the mall

Further along the mall

Placard in the mall - 'DANG, There, I said it'

Speakers and audience in the mall –

Sue Bolton and others on cherry-picker

Another speaker

The same speaker, more passionate

The same, more passionate still

Another speaker

In the crowd  - bare back with 'FUCK SHIT' in texta

Part of the crowd in the mall at the end of the speeches