Plebiscite not within ABS role

The Australian government has, notoriously, decided to run what it calls a plebiscite on the question of marriage equality in Australia. It will put up a bill to set up the running of the plebiscite as a mainstream vote, but this is expected to fail. Its fallback position is to have the Australian Bureau of Statistics (‘ABS’) run a voluntary postal vote.

On a straightforward reading of the relevant statutes, it is unlikely that the ABS is empowered by its legislation to run the vote. The former head of the ABS appears also to hold this view.

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Public activities in reserves: can you photograph Barangaroo?

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It’s usual to require a permit for disruptive activity in a public reserve

The case of the photographer being banned from photographing Sydney’s foreshore reserve, Barangaroo, has intrigued me. The story is that landscape photographer Ken Duncan was taking photos of landscape work at the parkland, when he was stopped by rangers. He was told that as he had a tripod, his work was commercial and therefore not permitted without a permit. Duncan was in fact taking the photos for friends, for no charge. However it appears that taking photos is itself prohibited activity in the reserve.

This raises some interesting questions.

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