The Tasmanian government is trying to pass anti-protest
laws. No, not Russia or North Korea. Tasmania.
In the immortal words of John McEnroe, you cannot be
The laws would criminalise protest activity that interferes with
access to a business premises, damages business property, or
threatens workers' safety. Individual fines of up to $50k and
corporate fines of up to $250k can follow. Oh, and there would be
mandatory jail time for repeat offenders. Proposed
amendments would limit the offence to protests specifically
targeting mining, forestry, agriculture, construction and
manufacturing industries. So environmentalists, look out.
Apparently the idea is to keep workplaces safe and protect the
sacrosanct right to work. But existing laws like trespass and
nuisance do that already. And why do those named industries deserve
protection more than others? If someone enters private property
without permission, damages it or threatens you, you can
legitimately call the cops. If they don't enter your property
and don't damage your stuff or threaten your safety, then what
exactly is your beef?
Frankly, it's terrifying that the Tasmanian government will
so brazenly seek to gag political and environmental protest. It
gives a pretty clear impression that the government sits very
comfortably in the pockets of those industries that the bill would
protect. We've seen House of Cards; we know how this stuff
Politics aside, there's going to be a big legal problem if
the bill passes. It's ripe for Constitutional challenge on the
basis that it unreasonably burdens the implied freedom of political
communication. A lot of laws get challenged on this basis and few
are struck down. We reckon this one might be an exception.
If challenged, the court would consider the extent of the burden
on the freedom of political communication and whether the law is
appropriately adapted to achieve its purpose. Arguing that these
laws are necessary to ensure workplace safety and an unlegislated
right to work is going to be a tough sell. Our money's with the
greenies on this one.
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quite proud of it really.
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