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Anti-Protest Bill Fails to Pass LegCo

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Media release – Guy Barnett, Minister for Resources, 25 March 2021 Labor betrays Tasmanian workers Labor should be ashamed of themselves for siding with the Bob Brown Foundation and the anti-everything Greens and turning their back on Tasmanian workers, their families and businesses by voting against our Government’s workplace protection laws in the Upper House. […]

Media release – Guy Barnett, Minister for Resources, 25 March 2021

Labor betrays Tasmanian workers

Labor should be ashamed of themselves for siding with the Bob Brown Foundation and the anti-everything Greens and turning their back on Tasmanian workers, their families and businesses by voting against our Government’s workplace protection laws in the Upper House.

This is the ultimate act of betrayal and a kick in the guts to the hard working Tasmanians who are being threatened and harassed by radical protestors for simply going to work.

Tasmanians deserve the right to go to work and earn a living for their family without interference from radical protesters.

I am bitterly disappointed as our legislation would have ensured that Tasmanians can operate a business and go to work without being impeded, threatened or interfered with by others and it beggars belief that Labor did not support it.

The Labor party has gone out of their way to spread misinformation about this Bill.

They said its anti-protest – it’s not. It is anti-illegal invasions, threats and harassment.

They said it’s anti-union – it’s not. Legal industrial action is exempt from this Bill.

They say it’s anti-nurses and teachers – it’s not. The Act clearly excludes hospitals, schools and multiple locations.

Our Government respects the right of every Tasmanian to protest peacefully and lawfully,

Labor has let down Tasmanian workers, not backed Tasmanian businesses and should be ashamed of themselves.

Media release – Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader, 25 March 2021

Greens Welcome Defeat of Draconian Anti-Protest Laws

The right to peaceful protest remains protected in Tasmania, following defeat of the Liberals’ draconian, unconstitutional anti-protest amendment Bill in the Legislative Council this afternoon.

This is a win for democracy and free speech.

It’s a win for workers and the unions that represent them. It’s a win for young people striking for a safe climate and conservationists of all ages who stand up for forest protection.

It’s a win for wilderness lovers who’ll blockade Halls Island in the TWWHA if the Lake Malbena heli-tourism project is approved. It’s a win for animal welfare activists driven to give voice to the voiceless.

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A majority in the Legislative Council saw this legislation for what it is – highly political and unconstitutional.

The Liberals’ first dodgy piece of legislation was pushed through Tasmania’s Parliament shortly after they came to office.

The High Court gave the original Workplace (Protection from Protestors) Act 2014 the short shrift it deserved, so the Liberals cobbled together some amendments in 2019 which they described as ‘urgent’ and jammed through the House of Assembly with Madeleine Ogilvie’s vote, then left gathering dust in the Upper House until closer to election day.

The Greens have a Workplace (Protection from Protesters) Repeal Bill already tabled in Parliament. We’ll be moving to purge this unconstitutional law from Tasmania statutes as soon as we can.

Today’s vote is an affirmation by the MLCs of Tasmanians’ right to peaceful protest – one that’s enshrined in the Australian Constitution. We are celebrating, along with every Tasmanian who has ever attended a rally, protest or a march.

Media release – Bob Brown Foundation, 25 March 2021

Tasmania’s Legislative Council blocks draconian anti-protest bill

“Tasmania’s Legislative Council has done its job as a house of review and stopped the Gutwein government’s effort to rob Tasmanians of their right to protest against unpopular policies. The government has failed, again, in its bid to give a few corporate forest invaders priority over the interests of fair-minded Tasmanians,” Bob Brown said today after the bill was voted down 8 – 6.

“Our Foundation will continue to carry out the long-held democratic right to protest for protection of Tasmania’s environment. We stand by our impeccable record that our Foundation and forest protesters in Tasmania have never damaged property nor threatened violence. We have a proud record of non-violent direct action. Some MLCs during the debate wrongly suggested otherwise,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.

“The right to protest should be enshrined by our political leaders rather than curtailed and in Tasmania’s Upper House today it was,” Jenny Weber said.

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Statement – Richard Griggs, Tasmanian Director Civil Liberties Australia, 25 March 2021

Defeat of Anti-Protest Laws

We thank the members of the Legislative Council for listening to the concerns of the community and applying rigorous scrutiny to the proposed anti-protest laws.

Our view was that these laws were anti-democratic, illiberal and dangerous in the way they created harsh penalties for people who peacefully gathered on public paths, streets, parks, beaches and waterways.

We think our State will be better off without these laws and we encourage the government to let go of these proposals and not bring them back again.

Media release – Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, 25 March 2021


Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has hailed the rejection of anti-protest laws by Tasmania’s Upper House as a victory for common sense.

“Legislative Councillors have done the right thing by voting down laws that included heavy penalties and even jail terms for protesters,” Mr Wilkie said. “Similar legislation previously passed by State Parliament was ruled invalid by the High Court, which said the laws exhibited ‘Pythonesque absurdity’ and were broad, vague and confusing.

“The latest incarnation of the Bill had been described by groups, including Civil Liberties Australia and the Tasmanian Council of Social Service, as ‘undemocratic, illiberal, unjust, dangerous and technically flawed’. That hardly inspired great confidence.

“Tasmania has a long and strong history of activism. We are entitled to protest about a lot of things: for better healthcare, for better housing, for greater protection of our natural assets. As we have seen this week, we even need to protest for the very right to protest. Now that is truly absurd.

“The right to protest is an integral part of a healthy democracy. It gives the community the chance to stand up and tell politicians what they want and that’s something all elected members should listen to and acknowledge. The alternative is the stuff of a police state.

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“These laws should now be tossed in the bin where they belong.”

Media release – Shane Broad MP, Shadow Minister for Resources, 25 March 2021

Labor remains ready to work on bipartisan approach to protest laws to protect timber industry

Labor stands ready to go back to the drawing board with the government to establish realistic and workable protest laws now that its Workplaces Amendment Bill has been voted down by the Legislative Council.

Shadow Resources Minister Shane Broad said after the long expected defeat of the Bill in the Upper House, it was time for the government and Minister Guy Barnett to concede he had gotten it badly wrong and adopt a bipartisan approach to draft legislation that would actually work.

“Labor is more than ready to work in the best interests of the Tasmanian resources industry to draft legislation that will work and not criminalise any protest on any footpath or road in the state,” Dr Broad said.

“Under the legislation that was defeated today, every Tasmanian – including nurses protesting about a lack of resources, factory workers demanding better leave entitlements or TAFE teachers fighting the Government’s privatisation agenda – could be fined or even jailed.

“The right to protest is fundamental but what we need to target specifically are protest groups like the Bob Brown Foundation who continue to hinder the legitimate activities of the Tasmanian timber and mining industries by staging dangerous stunts for social media including standing on loose log piles for photos and locking on to moving machinery.

“There are tested models from other states that with bipartisan support would provide certainty and protection for the forest sector and other industries targeted by workplace invasions.

“I hope Minister Barnett is now ready to work with us to find a solution to this serious issue.”


Source: Tasmanian Times

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