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Anti-protest Laws

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Shane Broad MP, Shadow Minister for Resources, 21 March 2021 Labor wants bipartisan approach to protect timber industry from workplace invasions Labor is calling for a bipartisan approach to tackling dangerous workplace invasions by groups like the Bob Brown Foundation which is targeting Tasmania’s timber industry. Shadow Minister for Resources, Shane Broad, has written to […]

Shane Broad MP, Shadow Minister for Resources, 21 March 2021

Labor wants bipartisan approach to protect timber industry from workplace invasions

Labor is calling for a bipartisan approach to tackling dangerous workplace invasions by groups like the Bob Brown Foundation which is targeting Tasmania’s timber industry.

Shadow Minister for Resources, Shane Broad, has written to Minister Barnett offering to work with him to address this serious issue once and for all.

“The Bob Brown Foundation continues to hinder the legitimate activities of the Tasmanian timber industry by staging dangerous stunts for social media including standing on loose log piles for photos, locking on to moving machinery and doing tree sits in logged coupes,” Dr Broad said.

“These activities are incredibly risky and could easily lead to the serious injury or death of protestors and timber workers.

“It’s clear the timber industry wants a bipartisan approach to addressing this issue and I am offering to work with Minister Barnett to draft Legislation to tackle these job destroying stunts.

“The Labor Party’s concerns about the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Amendment Bill are well documented. This bill risks making a criminal out of every Tasmanian and will provide Bob Brown a fundraising gravy train he will take all the way to the High Court of Australia.

“Under the proposed legislation, nurses protesting about a lack of resources outside our hospitals or factory workers demanding better leave entitlements could be fined or even jailed.

“There are alternate models that I believe we can implement with bipartisan support that would provide certainty and protection for the forest sector and other industries targeted by workplace invasions.

“I hope Minister Barnett will agree to work with me to find a solution to this serious issue and protect the future of Tasmania’s vital forest industry.”

Media release – Guy Barnett, Minister for Resources, 23 March 2021

Shane Broad all talk and no action

Shane Broad is all talk. He says he opposes radical protesters invading workplaces, and denying the right to Tasmanians to work, however also opposes our Government’s workplace protection legislation set to be debated in the Legislative Council tomorrow. This is very disappointing.

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The reasons Mr Broad gives to oppose this legislation are either misplaced, misleading or wrong. The Labor Party has a clear choice. Stand with the Bob Brown Foundation and the Greens and oppose this important legislation or vote for the right of business to operate and Tasmanian workers to work, without interference, impeding or harassment.

Our legislation has the support of Tasmania’s productive industries representing farmers, foresters, miners, fishers and the business community, not to mention Tasmanian workers.

Furthermore, similar legislation has been passed in the Federal Parliament with bipartisan support as well as in most mainland states with bipartisan support.

Tasmanian businesses and workers deserve the right to work free from threats and invasions from radical extremists.

I urge Mr Broad and the Labor Party to reconsider their position and support our legislation for the sake of Tasmanian workers and their families.

Joint media release: Australian Lawyers Alliance and Unions Tasmania, 23 March 2021

Australian Lawyers Alliance and Unions Tasmania oppose anti-protest laws

The Australian Lawyers Alliance and Unions Tasmania are uniting to urge members of the Legislative Council to oppose the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Amendment Act 2019 when it reaches them this week.

After supposed urgency around the legislation in 2019, the State Liberal Government have chosen to do nothing with it for well over a year until they gave notice of the Bill’s second reading speech a mere day after national protests against gendered violence and amid allegations of assault and rape in the nation’s Parliament.

Now is a time when the right to protest is especially critical to the Australian democracy.

Fabiano Cangelosi, Tasmanian spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, said: “Significant portions of the original Act were struck down by the High Court. What the State Government now proposes is much broader and more stifling of legitimate political activity. It also criminalises perfectly innocent behaviour that most people have at some point engaged in. It would be a devastating blow not only to our social and political discourse, but our basic ability as consumers to dispute with businesses, if the Bill were passed.”

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Jessica Munday, Secretary of Unions Tasmania, said: “The trade union movement is a movement built on protest. Many of the rights and conditions we enjoy today – workplace safety laws, equal pay – were won because the trade union movement protested for them. These laws will capture legitimate trade union activity such as nurses protesting about safe staffing levels, workers protesting against their work being outsourced or privatised, or workers who have had to stop work on site because their workplace was unsafe. Of course, these laws aren’t really about workers. They’re about politics. If the Government cared about workers, they do something job security, low wages or wage theft.”

Media release – The Wilderness Society, 23 March 2021

Tasmania’s undemocratic anti-protest law: empty theatrics no substitute for supporting transition of logging industry

If the Hodgman-Gutwein government really cared about native forestry workers, which it says the anti-protest Workplace Protection Bill is about, it should support the sector to transition out of logging high conservation value native forests to plantation-based forestry, which is the future of the industry.

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“This rehashed anti-protest Bill appears to remain unconstitutional** and contrary to the freedom the Liberal Party is apparently founded on. It is yet another ‘special deal’ for the native logging industry. Meanwhile, the plantation sector is flourishing without constant government protectionism because this is the wood people want,” said Tom Allen, Wilderness Society Tasmania campaign manager.

“Tasmania’s Gondwanic forests are globally significant: exceptionally carbon dense, unique and home to multiple threatened species. High Conservation Value forests simply are irreplaceable and logging forests isn’t sustainable when it is driving multiple species to extinction.

“The unpopular anti-protest bill seeks to shield this industry from public scrutiny and criticism. Such illiberal silencing is undemocratic, and is not in the best interests of Tasmanians**, nor the native forest logging sector which needs support to reform, not support to hide.

“The logging industry’s own research shows that people in rural and urban areas don’t support the logging of Tasmania’s amazing high-conservation forests. The native forest logging sector that the Gutwein Government is catering to with this election-flavoured ‘special deal’ lacks social licence to operate.*

“Members of the Legislative Council should carefully consider the impacts of passing another Bill that is likely to result in unconstitutional legislation, and whether supporting this Bill buys into political exploitation of a sector facing inevitable change and empty electoral theatrics,” said Mr Allen.

*A leaked 2018 report for the Australian Forest and Wood Products Association found that 70% of urban respondents and 65% of rural respondents view native forest logging as unacceptable. Hannam, P (2018), “Bush turns its back on support for logging native forests,” Sydney Morning Herald

** Letter from six civil liberties organisations to Tasmania’s Upper House

Source: Tasmanian Times

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