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Australian activist arrested for wearing “I’m with Stupid” t-shirt

Written By: - Date published: 4:46 pm, January 8th, 2015 - 56 comments
Categories: australian politics, International - Tags:

Ian Fogerty Im with Stupid

On this day when the world defiantly stands up for freedom of speech a political activist has been arrested in Australia for wearing a t-shirt that says “I’m with Stupid”.

The Guardian reports:

The operator of a Twitter account parodying the Queensland premier, Campbell Newman, has been charged with public nuisance after he stood next to Liberal National party campaigners in Brisbane wearing an “I’m with stupid” T-shirt.

Iain Fogerty’s arrest, which took place at a Fortitude Valley intersection where LNP and Labor campaign teams had lined up in opposition, was blasted by Labor senator Claire Moore as “just ridiculous”.

Fogerty was released on watch-house bail and is due to appear in the Brisbane magistrates court on 4 February.

He told Guardian Australia he was still seeking legal advice, but declined to comment further.

A police spokesman said a 44-year-old man had been charged with public nuisance but declined to elaborate.

The Australian right and the Police need to get a sense of humour as well as an understanding of what freedom of speech means.  And they should not have someone arrested just because they do not like what he is saying.

Update: the #imwithstupid Twitter feed has taken off …

56 comments on “Australian activist arrested for wearing “I’m with Stupid” t-shirt”

  1. Tracey 1

    it is the slippery slope which always impacts the left more than the right because the left take to the streets and the right cross palms with silver to get change they want

    welcome to the age of poverty of principle

  2. SHG 2

    Two words, Queensland

    • lprent 2.1

      NSW is the land of the corrupt cop and politician…
      Queensland is the land of the rather stupid versions of both…

      (It’d be fair to say that I have never really enjoyed time spent in either state)

      • Murray Rawshark 2.1.1

        There are some really great people in Queensland, but it takes a while to find them.

        • Manuka AOR 2.1.1.1

          Ditto for NSW

        • lprent 2.1.1.2

          I know. I have direct family who have been there for nearly half a century. Not to mention the ones who who didn’t emigrate to NZ in the 19th.

          I can’t say that I have ever been impressed by much of the east coast when I have been there. It has the problem of being infested by crass knowitall aussies. And I’m not exactly a shy person myself.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    “as well as an understanding of what freedom of speech means”

    Do Australians actually have a right to freedom of speech? As I understand it, New Zealanders actually don’t either.

    Edit: NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990, Section 14:
    Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.

    However Section 5 also applies a limit:
    Subject to section 4 of this Bill of Rights, the rights and freedoms contained in this Bill of Rights may be subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

    From a google result: “Several pieces of legislation, aimed at promoting racial harmony, defending public morals, enhancing social responsibility, protecting children, and protecting individual privacy and reputation, limit the scope of freedom of expression in New Zealand.”

    • mickysavage 3.1

      The law does recognize freedom of speech, it is just that like other rights it is not an unfettered right. As they say in America freedom of speech does not allow someone to shout “fire” in a crowded theatre.

      Some examples:

      1. Defamation gives an aggrieved party the right to seek compensation if you overstep the mark.
      2. The criminal law makes it a crime to threaten to kill someone or to use obscene. It is also surprisingly still an offense to utter a blasphemous libel.
      3. Censorship is another area where rights are limited if generally publication is considered to be against the public good.

      Bill of Rights considerations mean that the threshold for action must be set really high and even disturbing speech tolerated. A t shirt saying “I’m with stupid” doesn’t even get close to breaching that threshold.

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    Pretty much an open and shut case for unlawful arrest. I think ten years worth of the arresting officer’s salary would be a good starting point. Pour discourager les autres.

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.1

      It would serve the copper right. He should have charged the activist with refusing to supply required statistical information, instead 😛

    • Murray Rawshark 4.2

      The guy was arrested because an LNP candidate and the president of the Bjelke-Newman youth didn’t want him there. He’ll be convicted and half of Queensland will applaud the conviction.

  5. gsays 5

    was he really arrested for public nuisance for merely wearing a t-shirt, or was he being a public nuisance?

    as we all are aware, the newspapers do like to play up an angle.

    • b waghorn 5.1

      That is a very good point.

    • North 5.2

      Your definition of “nuisance” gsays ? Bit of a throwaway (like rubbish) line you give without addressing that, gsays @ 5.

      • gsays 5.2.1

        hi north, yes the definition of nuisance is important.
        mine very much less so.
        my definition of a nuisance varies from: middle class ladies who like to lunch a lot, sending back their soup, during a very busy cafe service, because the toasted ciabatta had too much crust on it for their liking. thru to the cooch that keeps coming back in my garden bed.

        however, the point(s) i was getting at (after a few bevvies after the aforementioned service), was that the man uses vague terms like nuisance to suit their needs. there is very little hard, fast and constant about nuisance.
        the other thing i was getting at is that newspapers serve their advertising masters by selling copies. you dont sell many copies by telling stories that arent controversial.
        i trust this helps.

    • Murray Rawshark 5.3

      He was standing with LNP campaigners, waving at cars with them. When the police get a phone call from the Young LNP president, they act quickly. FJK would kill for such a police force.

  6. North 6

    Current New Zealand law – Summary Offences Act 1981, Section 3 – Disorderly behaviour.

    “Every person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding $2,000 who, in or within view of any public place, behaves, or incites or encourages any person to behave, in a riotous, offensive, threatening, insulting, or disorderly manner that is likely in the circumstances to cause violence against persons or property to start or continue.”

    On his/her personal assessment any young right-wing cop can interfere with my freedom of expression as he/she pleases. That’s the simple truth. And of course it happens…….all the time.

    The Mad Monk and TheGodKey do worse daily from their respective Cabinet rooms. As do Obama’s drones. Never mind. Let’s all jump on Facebook and hate on Derek Fox. We’ll go to bed righteous and unburdened.

  7. Paul Campbell 7

    Surely after he was arrested he was with the police ….. I’m sure truth is a defence here

  8. Neil 8

    John Key should be arrested also for his mincing down the catwalk & also for that silly hat he was wearing at field days.

    • lprent 8.1

      Give him credit. Unlike the humourless queensland Liberals he wasn’t getting compliant police to drag off her….

      • b waghorn 8.1.1

        Wearing a tie like that he should of been the one getting dragged off buy the police.

      • aerobubble 8.1.2

        So Key is sexist, likes the photo opt, and the gay queensland is yet to come out?

      • greywarbler 8.1.3

        The sun is casting an elongated shadow of yek’s nose. It’s like there is a long piece that is invisible to us but the penetrating rays of the sun have hit it and produced the Pinocchio effect. Just an illusion of course, but one notices a lot of it around these days in NACT media materiel.

        (Now that’s a good bad bit of trivia for Matthew H to declaim about.)

  9. tricledrown 9

    Most likely arrested for revealing Tony Abbots worst kept secret !

  10. Matthew Hooton 10

    Great post. Unless there is more to this story than the t-shirt, then I think the courts will have much more to say about the police’s conduct than the activist’s.

    • Colonial Rawshark 10.1

      we don’t have the same political perspective Matthew, but I think you will agree that wasting police and court resources on general BS is not going to do anyone good in the long run.

  11. Coffee Connoisseur 11

    …and so the silencing of political dissent begins

  12. les 12

    the Queensland Police are a joke.It was only a couple of years ago a young NZ’er was arrested for asking for directions to the Sunshine Coast.At court his charge was dismissed and he told attendant media…’in NZ we are taught to ask the Police for assistance’!believe it or not.

  13. Richard Christie 13

    I hope he wears a “I am Charlie’ tee shirt at his court appearance.

  14. Tanz 14

    Just more evidence that the West has gone PC mad. It’s been happening for decades.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1

      All that comment does is tell me that you have no idea what PC is.

      • Tanz 14.1.1

        You, OAB, going from your many comments on this site, are a rampant defender of everything that is PC. You defend the indefensible and the outright wrong.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1.1.1

          Put up or shut up, you ill-mannered twat.

          • Mainlander 14.1.1.1.1

            lol that is my favourite pot kettle comment to date for the new year but i do admire consistency, even from a nasty RWNJ attack poodle/sarc

  15. ghostwhowalksnz 15

    After checking a bit of background about the public nuisance laws, my guess is the police will say ‘the offender refused to move on when asked, so he was arrested”

  16. mac1 16

    I think of Muldoon’s unkind joke about how the exodus of Kiwis to Australia which allegedly contributed to the rise in IQs of both countries, and then think of Joh Bjelke Petersen, NZ’s contribution to Queensland politics, and receive confirmation of at least the first New Zealand part of the joke.

    The action of their State police in this instance confirm the second Australian part.

    Seriously, though, having someone wearing an insulting t-shirt and standing alongside other people is provocative and could have ended in blows. I believe the blue t-shirt wearers did the right thing and got the police in. There are more effective ways of showing political disagreement and standing alongside someone to insult them is not smart- indeed, it’s immature for a 44 year old, and really says something about him more than the targets of his insulting humour.

    Boy, when I’m grumpy…………… need more tea.

    • Colonial Rawshark 16.1

      Wow the blue t-shirt wearers couldn’t deal with one man expressing dissent via a white t-shirt so called the cops in. It’s almost like the blue t-shirt wearers can’t tolerate the idea of democracy.

      • Anne 16.1.1

        I’m with CW. A joke, a joke… nothing but a joke – or so it looks to me.

        Had they an ounce of character and maturity, they would have slapped him on the back with a well done mate… we don’t agree with you but we’ve enjoyed your humourous protest and all would have ended well.

        As for the cop(s), a warning to the protester don’t do it again was all that was necessary.

        I know of a joke that was played on Rob Muldoon when he was PM. The culprits were identified and that is exactly what happened – a verbal warning from a cop delivered with a twinkle in the eye. Muldoon didn’t press charges because I assume he recognised the humour…

        • mac1 16.1.1.1

          Yeah……. but we don’t know the amount of humour/aggro involved in the situation- either of us. My experience tells me that I will meet grumpy people who are not feeling humorous, and up to teasing- especially around politics. And that’s amongst my friends!

          I would feel though some responsibility personally if I were Mr White T-Shirt and caused a fracas……. For example, look at the blue t-shirt wearer on the right of the man in question. He’s not looking well-humoured.

          Now whether the police themselves were heavy-handed, again we don’t know the circumstances, the courts will decide and hopefully justice and/or common sense will prevail. I do know that I was told never to mess with the Queensland police- and I’ve never been there.

          It is also dangerous to rely on other people’s goodwill when being deliberately provocative and insulting. These pages on The Standard can attest to that. 🙂

    • RedBaronCV 16.2

      You mean people standing and supporting some one standing for parliament ( a people intensive job if ever there was one) would not be able to restrain them selves when faced with one bloke wearing a T shirt that disagrees with them??
      Likely to do harm to him?? Really??

      How are these peopel going to cope in the real world of parliamentary dissent?

      Sad wimpy little right wingers aren’t they -?

      • mac1 16.2.1

        Ha! I stood for parliament RBCV and I wouldn’t have trusted all my supporters if someone crashed my street gathering in an insulting way. Remember that gentle and pacific handling of a dissenter at Gerry Brownlee’s meeting, as he was ‘ushered down the stairs in precipitous fashion’?

        History also (at the peril of being Godwin-esque) should tell us of the ‘unwimpiness’ of right-wingers and left -wingers both when it comes to political violence.

    • Murray Rawshark 16.3

      If the LNP members on that street corner are such thugs that they might have attacked the guy, they should have been the ones moved on by the police.

  17. mac1 17

    Where you see dissent, I see insulting behaviour. W here you see intolerance, I see restraint. Where you see acceptable behaviour, I see someone looking for a thick ear and inviting demeaning behaviour upon himself and from the people he’s insulting.

    It’s not even funny, CR………………..

    I hope that the white t-shirt wearer took into account the possible consequences of his actions in being deliberately provocative, in a premeditated way, for himself and for the brunt of his ‘dissent’.

    It reminds me of the actions of the PYM in 1968 furthering the causes of the revolution by writing insults on police station walls, which a member took great joy in relating to me. Fucking childish then, and now.

  18. KJT 18

    It is obvious how little freedom of speech means in new Zealand, when entirely law abiding demonstrators, in Auckland, are dragged off into police vans. later to be released, with no consequent charges for unlawful detention and assault for the police officers involved.

    And. You have to have a “permit” to hold placards or march in a public place.

    • Murray Rawshark 18.1

      I always found it strange that people could be in court on resisting arrest when that was the only charge.

      • McFlock 18.1.1

        It shouldn’t happen too often, but in theory the grounds for an arrest meet a lower threshold than likelihood of conviction (which is one of the criteria they use for taking something to court).

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