Civilisation and The Hodgman Law

A letter from Bob to The Sunday Tasmanian.

Civilisation, not least democratic society, is based on the search for a social compact which promotes and sustains the maximum happiness for human society.

In this age of environmental destruction, unprecedented in human history, efforts by authorities to suppress the growing public activity to protect the Earth's wildlife, lands, oceans, atmosphere and forests may delay the process, but will inevitably fail.

The Hodgman Law to suppress all effective on-site campaigning to save the planet's living biosphere has the added flaw of seeking to prevent effective protest against any business for any other reason.

Put back in time, it would have been equally used to prevent the abolition of slavery, to prevent women getting the vote and to prevent the establishment of modern, democratic India. This is law which would have stopped the creation of the society we value so highly today.

Effective peaceful protest enlivens democratic society and the Hodgman Law may also contravene citizens' rights inherent in the Australian Constitution. That will be a matter for the High Court to judge.

Premier Hodgman and Minister Harriss clearly do not share many of their fellow Tasmanians' deeper reverence for Tasmania's wild and scenic natural heritage. But beyond that there is a brutishness in their laws. They aim to get their way by having the property and, if needs be, the liberty of those other citizens confiscated.

It is likely that neither Hodgman nor Harriss reflected much on history. Their law would have ensnared Christ. He turned up the businessmen's tables outside the Temple. If he had done that in modern Tasmania they would have seen him fined and forced to compensate the traders, with the court unable to take into account any remitting factors. Unable to pay up, he would have gone to jail. If I am wrong about that either gentleman might explain how.

Like a good number of other Australians, I care less for money and personal liberty than I do for the living Earth, including the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and the right of future generations to inherit it the better, not the worse, for us being here now.

So, notwithstanding Hodgman's Law, future bulldozers smashing their way into Tasmania's now-protected ancient forests will sooner or later find me among the throng of other people standing peacefully in their path.


Bob Brown.


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  • commented 2015-05-14 13:51:22 +1000
    In another article legislative council member Greg Hall is reported to have said “This legislation is to stop the pests’”. This self entitled nonsense makes my blood boil. This is basically implying anybody who is against the degradation of Tasmanias wilderness areas is a “pest” just because they stand in the way of corporate capitalism. It are people with this sort of world view that are the real problem.
  • commented 2015-02-02 20:03:01 +1100
    They think that their draconian control measures will suppress all opposition to their plans. One of the many flaws of their thinking is that the thousands of activists they are up against are self serving, profit driven individuals. Those of us who would stand in the way of big business are driven by more powerful forces than that.
  • commented 2015-01-17 17:52:25 +1100
    Are we on the road to a Police State, where elected servants of the community change the law for their financial gain, don’t fool me it is to help the community or the environment. Long live free speech and peaceful protest.
    David Baird