Give Us More Exclusion Zones

David Marsh

A submission to the Ruddock inquiry into religious freedom 
The writer wishes to remain anonymous

Women’s Health Centres

Please recommend exclusion zones for protestors outside women’s health centres in every state/territory of Australia.

Please see this article:

Excerpts from this article below:

“Marie Stopes staff in Perth say they fear for their safety and for patients as protests intensify in lead up to Easter.”

““I genuinely fear for my safety,” Grace said.

“I have had holy water thrown on my car.

“Grace said she and other staff were particularly fearful in the lead up to Lent, the annual 40-day period of Christian observance preceding Easter. Each year the number of protesters increased during Lent, Kelly said, and she said those protesters were more confrontational. Up to a dozen protesters attended the clinic each day during the Lent period, she said.

“It’s causing me a lot of anxiety,” Grace said. “They are so fundamentalist in their views, so righteous in how they feel. I would like to honour their right to protest while protecting women’s rights to healthcare and I think a buffer zone is needed.

“Women shouldn’t have this in their face. The worst cases are women who really want their baby but who are coming in for a termination because of a lethal fetal abnormality, and so their pregnancy is unviable. Those cases are just so distressing.”

“She said that some women had told her they had been put off from attending the clinic after Googling the location and seeing protesters outside of it on Google street view.

“The ACT, Tasmania, Victoria and the Northern Territory are the only places with exclusion zones in place that make it illegal for protesters to stand outside of or near to women’s health services. The distance protesters must be from clinics varies according to jurisdiction.”

Also see this relevant news article:

“Albury’s only abortion clinic: protests ‘push women to point of self-harm'”

“Teenagers visiting NSW clinic being intimidated to point of self harm by pressure group Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, say health workers”

Same Sex Weddings

Can you please also introduce exclusion zones for those that wish to protest against a same-sex marriage?  For example there may be protesters outside a Church or even from within a Church who may wish to disrupt proceedings.

Protestors stood up in the middle of church services at Pitt Street Uniting and MCC Church to interrupt the service with their anti-gay marriage speech.


In the same way, supporters of gay marriage have also caused blockades at church gatherings:

These people can still be allowed to protest, but perhaps 100m away from the Church – and certainly not within the venue.  They should not be allowed to prevent people from attending the Church.  Please recommend exclusion zones.


About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)