Police to protect Pope under tough new laws

Special police powers similar to those during the APEC summit will be imposed in Sydney to protect Pope Benedict during his visit for World Youth Day.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports body searches, vehicle confiscation and the right to ban people from WYD events will be some of the rights police will have – including control of air space and unauthorised advertising.

The WYD Amendment Bill passed by the NSW Parliament grants the Church unrestricted access to Randwick Racecourse for the closing papal Mass, which the Church estimates will be attended by up to 500,000 international and Australian Catholic pilgrims.

The bill also includes a controversial clause that can delegate power from Parliament to the Government.

It allows the State Government to introduce regulations that permit police and private security guards to conduct searches of pilgrims and their bags, and any cars at World Youth Day sites, and bar entry to anyone.

Airspace around events is to be restricted to all but emergency, police and military aircraft to protect the Pope.

The new laws protect commercial agreements between the church and its sponsors by restricting advertising around buildings and structures at World Youth Day venues.

The World Youth Day Co-ordination Authority will administer the new laws with Deputy Premier John Watkins. The authority of the body and Ms Watkins cannot be “challenged, reviewed quashed or called into question" in court.

Parliament's Legislative Review Committee has warned the of Mr Watkins and the authority has the potential to deny people natural justice and has called the the regulations governing body and property searches an "inappropriate delegation of legislative power".

Tough laws to protect Pope (Sydney Morning Herald, 13/12/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day 2008
Australian Jockey Club

Vatican delegation arrive for WYD (CathNews 16/10/07)
Randwick still unconfirmed for WYD (CathNews 08/10/07)
WYD construction an equine flu risk: Randwick trainers (CathNews 20/09/07)
WYD registrations exceeding expectations (CathNews 04/09/07)
5,000 apply to take part in WYD performances (CathNews 03/12/07)

13 Dec 2007

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