Right to peaceful assembly

  • If your policy, program or legislation restricts the right to peaceful assembly, ensure that any restrictions:
    • serve a legitimate interest;
    • are no more than what is necessary to protect that interest; and
    • clearly contemplate the person’s right to continue to assemble peacefully where possible.

It is advisable that you state the reasons for any restrictions in your policy, program or legislation.

Right to freedom of association

  • Although professional associations may be exempt from the right to freedom of association (and the negative aspect of the right – the right not to join an association), if you are establishing a framework supporting a new professional body or association, consider creating exemptions for people who do not wish to be members of that particular organisation or association.
  • Ask yourself:
    • is membership required in order to achieve the objectives of the policy?
    • is the criteria for allowing an exemption practicable?
    • will those persons obtaining exemption be significantly disadvantaged by not being a member of the organisation?137

If you are developing a policy that offers inducements to persons who associate with certain bodies, ensure that the inducements are not so great as to effectively compel persons to join that body. If the same benefits are obtainable elsewhere, the inducements would probably fall out of this category and an issue under section 16 would be unlikely to be raised.



137 This is the approach adopted in New Zealand’s Guidelines to the Bill of Rights Act 1990. (New Zealand Ministry of Justice, The Guidelines on the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (2004) http://www.justice.govt.nz/pubs/reports/2004/ bill-of-rightsguidelines/index.html).