Foundation challenge: ‘edict is illegal’. Regulator should go.

2017 High Court ruling: ‘The implied freedom protects the free expression of political opinion, including peaceful protest, which is indispensable to the exercise of political sovereignty by the people of the Commonwealth.’

The Bob Brown Foundation has thrown down the gauntlet to the Tasmanian Department of Justice over its edict banning all the foundation’s forest protest activities. Acting for the foundation, Hobart solicitor Roland Browne has, this morning, asked the Magistrates’ Court to find the WorkSafe Tasmania prohibition invalid on multiple grounds (see link below).

“The government Prohibition Notice, issued on Thursday by its WHS Regulator, will be found invalid, that is, illegal,” Bob Brown said this morning in Hobart. The Gutwein government’s authority does not extend to suddenly declaring all community protest sites as workplaces or to a blanket ban our protest activity in Tasmania regardless of how safe or effective it may be.

Logically, what or who next? The Westbury prison site paddock made illegal for Westbury residents? Rosny Hill banned as a protest site until the WHS Regulator is happy? The Parliamentary lawns off limits to everyone with a grievance? The streets outside every politician’s office or town hall? Public meetings inside town halls (the edict clearly bans BBF from holding these for now)? Every union protest site? This is a Gutwein government absurdity.

The Solicitor-General must be rubbing his head in despair as he recalls the 2017 High Court judgement after the Lapoinya forest protests validating peaceful protest in Tasmania’s forests under the Australian Constitution. If the Work and Health Safety Regulator issued this ground-breaking notice without notifying both his minister and the solicitor-general, he should go. If ministers knew, and did not get legal advice, they should go.

The WorkSafe supremo would have been doing a better job had he ensured the pro-logging vigilantes had not attacked peaceful citizens driving to their Tarkine ‘workplace’ on Friday night. What action is he taking there?

We see this edict as illegal and are continuing our peaceful defence of Tasmania’s wild and scenic Tarkine,” Bob Brown said.

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