High Court Challenge to Tasmanian Government's Protest Laws

Media Release 10 Mar 2016


Bob Brown has issued a High Court challenge to the Hodgman Government's laws aimed to stop protests in Tasmania's forests. Brown claims the laws breach citizens' rights under the Australian Constitution.

Hobart solicitor Roland Browne filed a writ on behalf of Brown yesterday and the State Government, as defendant, had the notice of proceedings delivered this morning.

Bob Brown and Jessica Hoyt (a Hobart nurse and mother who grew up in Lapoinya) are due in the Magistrates Court in Hobart tomorrow (Friday) after they were arrested for peacefully protesting the clearfell logging of the Lapoinya Forest in January. So far 5 people have been arrested and some 30 more summarily fined after entering the forest being logged at Lapoinya.

Tha Lapoinya Forest is a habitat for threatened wildlife including Tasmanian devils and the world's largest freshwater crayfish.

The writ claims that 'The Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Act 2014 (Tas) (the Act) (in whole or in part) in its application to the plaintiff and to forestry land is invalid because it impermissibly burdens the implied freedom of communication on government and political matters contrary to the Commonwealth Constitution.'

The Tasmanian Act defines protest activity as;-

"4. Meaning of protester and engaging in a protest activity

(2) (b) (ii) for the purposes of promoting awareness of or support for – an opinion, or belief, in respect of a political, environmental, social, cultural or economic issue.

(3) For the purposes of this Act, a person is engaging in a protest activity if the person participates, other than as a bystander, in a demonstration, a parade, an event, or a collective activity, that is a protest activity."

For more information:
Steven Chaffer 0408 855 261

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  • Linda Ware
    commented 2016-03-25 23:25:07 +1100
    Amazing in 2016, still the same atitude to change! wiishing you success and supporting this challenge.
  • Louise Wilson
    commented 2016-03-12 01:38:37 +1100
    Bob, Jessica Hoyt,
    Thank you for your peaceful civil disobedience and bringing the need for protection of the forest of Lapoinya to light. It’s so important such unconstitutional legislation upon which you were both arrested in peaceful protest should be repealed as it is outrageous in word and intent. Bob, I wish you great success in the high court challenge. Please keep up the amazing work.
    In gratitude and with thanks.
  • Caroline Angliss
    commented 2016-03-11 12:09:52 +1100
    Thank you for having the courage to challenge this draconian law. The government here in Western Australia seems determined to introduce something similar in the form of an amendment to the Criminal Code.