#Civil Rights
Victorian Premier Steve Bracks

Feb 10, 2006

Footscray police in flag heist
Michael Ascroft, Melbourne

Just two days after a deliberately burned Australian flag was put on display above a Footscray street, it was seized by police. The flag was installed outside Trocadero Art Space for the exhibition Proudly unAustralian by Melbourne artist Azlan McLennan. The provocative artwork was intended to be on public display for Australia Day.

McLennan commented to Green Left Weekly about "the audacity of the police to refuse to recognise how many Indigenous and Muslim Australians take offence to the Australian flag". He asked: "Does this mean that every time I see an Australian flag in public, or every bit of corporate advertising for that matter, that I can call Footscray police to have it promptly removed?" According to McLennan, "the law requires a reasonable amount of notice be given" so artists have the opportunity "to choose to remove the work themselves".

From Green Left Weekly, February 8, 2006.

For further info go to http://www.azlanmclennan.org/press5_trocadero.html

Or to view the transcript of the ABC 7.30 Report's interview with Azlan McLennan: 'Art prompts call for flag-burning law change' go to http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2006/s1563582.htm
Broadcast: 06/02/2006

Support freedom of expression! Oppose state censorship! Defend Azlan McLennan!

The Howard Government's anti-terrorism legislation—backed by all state governments—represents a serious threat to civil liberties. The January 20 confiscation by Footscray police of Azlan McLennan's artwork "Proudly unAustralian" is a recent example of how these laws will be used.

It is an attempt to return to the practice of silencing the expression dissident opinion.

Therefore, we, the undersigned:
1. Reaffirm our support for freedom of expression and condemn the confiscation of Azlan McLennan's artwork by the Victoria Police.
2. Call on the Footscray police to drop any impending charges and to issue an apology to Mr McLennan.
3. Call on the Bracks Government to instruct the Victoria Police to cease its practice of raiding art galleries and removing works of art.
4. Commit ourselves to support any individual artist or artistic institution that is the subject of censorship and persecution.

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The Support Freedom of Artistic Expression! Oppose State Censorship! petition to Victorian Premier Steve Bracks was written by Brianna Pike and is in the category Civil Rights at GoPetition.