Welcome to the Activist Rights Website!


No discussion of activist legal rights is valid without acknowledging the centuries of Aboriginal struggle against genocide and severe political and legal repression in "Australia".

All activists in Australia today owe a huge debt to the Aboriginal activists who, throughout history, fought for human rights, social, legal and political change. Aboriginal people were the first in Australia to face the full force of English 'common law'.

In fact, most of the important rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy in Australia today are due to the courageous actions of countless activists in our history.


Before we begin:

Do we have a right to protest?

How can we do DIY legal research?

What is an activist?


This website is broken down into these main sections:

  • Preparing for a protest: Here you will find information and tips for setting up legal support teams, planning for arrests, preparing for police responses, administration issues, and supporting people who have been arrested and/or imprisoned.

  • Responses to protests: This section outlines some common responses from police, other government agencies, individuals and corporations to protests – including the criminalisation of political dissent, police tactics, threats to silence activists, and surveillance of activists.

  • Common charges and offences: Information about what you or your friends might be charged with while attending or taking part in protest activity. This section also covers possible charges for particular kinds of protests such as forest blockading.

  • Police powers and your rights: here you can find out about your rights and responsibilities with police, what laws and policies police should obey, and what you can do if you think police have acted unlawfully.

  • Strategic Litigation: This section outlines how strategic litigation can form part of your campaign, can be a tool for changing laws or policies, and can contribute to the broader social discussion about an issue.

  • Case Studies: Often we work best when we stand on the shoulders of giants – when we use the learnings of those who have come before us. Here you can read case studies of past protest actions and their legal outcomes.

  • Links and Resources: find out more about where to get legal help, other organisations promoting human rights, building a stronger security culture, and activist training resources.

  • Dictionary: What do these words mean? When we use a word that has a particular legal meaning we link it to our dictionary so you can better understand what it means.


Got some feedback?

Want to give us some feedback on what is or isn't working on the site? Sections you can't find or think are missing? Suggestions on how to improve the site? Or do you have a question that isn't answered by what is already on the site?

Email the Community Development and Legal Education Coordinator: [email protected] 

Thank you!



Thank you to Tamar Hopkins for your invaluable assistance and feedback with updating the website and adding new content.