Tasmanian Government told by coalition to throw out flawed protest bill as tinkering won’t fix it.
Civil Libertarians, unions, environmentalists, community legal centres and lawyers have called for the Tasmanian Government’s anti-protest Bill to be scrapped, saying creation of proposed amendments by the Tasmanian Government is an admission that the Bill is deeply flawed, but that the changes will not fix fundamental problems.
Unions Tasmania President, Roz Madsen stated, "The bill over reaches and is unnecessary. Unions agree that something needs to be done to protect workers and their businesses but existing laws are able to do this".
Benedict Bartl, Community Legal Centres Tasmania, stated, "The proposed Bill remains both unnecessary and disproportionate with existing laws already providing protection to businesses from protest activity, and mandatory sentencing taking discretion away from the judiciary meaning that they are unable to consider the circumstances particular to the individual case".
The Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said, “The Tasmanian Government’s attack on citizens’ fundamental rights to peaceful assembly and free speech is too flawed to fix. The international condemnation and broad opposition across Tasmania needs to be heard by the Government. Premier Hodgman should withdraw this draconian attack on peaceful protest”.
Civil Liberties Australia, Tasmanian President, Richard Griggs stated, "If the government stick to the proposal to create Tasmania's first mandatory prison sentences any amendments can really only be described as tinkering at the edges and not addressing one of the key concerns”.
Peg Putt, Markets for Change CEO, stated, “The Government’s bill should be scrapped as existing laws and penalties suffice. The proposed changes do not appear to address all the concerns, such as the introduction of mandatory sentences. Any proposed amendments should be made public.”
Charlie Sherwin, Environment Tasmania CEO, stated, "You can't fudge this: The Bill would gag the community's voice and stifle democratic processes where business interests harm Tasmania's beautiful natural places."
Supporting Organisations who have joined the call on the Tasmanian Government to withdraw the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Bill 2014 include Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, Civil Liberties Australia, Community Legal Centres Tasmania, Unions Tasmania, The Bob Brown Foundation, Markets for Change, Community and Public Sector Union – PSU Group, Groundswell, Tasmania University Union, The Wilderness Society Tasmania, Socialist Alliance, Environment Tasmania.
The Bob Brown Foundation