Australian news, and some related international items

Tasmanian Greens stick up for civil liberties, and the right to protest

greensSmProtest laws under fire as Greens to attempt to have legislation banished from statute books February 15, 2016 THE Greens will launch a bid to overturn the state’s anti-protest legislation, which they say is being used to stifle the democratic right to protest.

Acknowledging the attempt had little chance of success in the Liberal-dominated State Parliament, Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said the legislation needed to be overturned

Ms O’Connor said the legislation — which carries maximum fines of $10,000 and mandatory jail terms for repeat offenders — was being used against citizens protesting logging operations in the Lapoinya Forest — contrary to government promises about its intent.

“In recent weeks up at Lapoinya up in North West Tasmania, we’ve seen the Government’s draconian anti-protest legislation actually target the very people that Paul Harriss said it wouldn’t — mum and dad protesters.

“This Bill is not only highly political and draconian it is unnecessary — there is already legislation in Tasmania for trespass and public nuisance and we want to see this Bill banished from the statue books. “I believe this law will not remain on the statue books in Tasmania forever. It may be subject to a High Court challenge. It really has no place in a civil and democratic society like ours.”

Tasmanian spokesperson for Civil Liberties Australia. Rajan Venkataraman, said the Bill was a severe infringement on the right to peaceful protest. “The provisions in this Act are quite unique to Tasmania,” he said.

“Around most jurisdictions in Australia and indeed many countries around the world, they have provisions regarding trespass and public nuisance and certainly violent protest … but this kind of Act specifically targets protesters and specifically peaceful protesters. “The offences created by the Act and the penalties imposed are extreme and not in proportion to penalties imposed under other statutes, even for quite serious and violent offences.”

Resources Minister Paul Harriss dismissed opposition to the laws.

“It says a lot about the Greens that at a time when the state is a facing a number of serious challenges, they are most concerned about changing the law to allow their mates to try to stop others from lawfully harvesting a regrowth forest.”

February 15, 2016 - Posted by | civil liberties, politics, Tasmania

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