Saturday, 19 March 2016

Proposal to curtail protest in Australia

"This week Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) government proposed shocking new legislation that could severely restrict people’s right to protest. The Deputy Leader of the opposition, Walt Secord said, `..gas exploration operations will be treated as mining under New South Wales law. Make no mistake: This bill was drafted with the Bentley blockade, the Knitting Nannas Against Gas, and the Pilliga in mind. It should be feared by north coast communities and the Pilliga.` "

"The new laws have clearly been designed to prohibit groups like the Knitting Nannas of Australia..."

"Under new laws, those daring to speak out could be imprisoned for up to seven years. This new bill would categorically penalise, criminalise and demonise protest. Member of the opposition, Adam Searle (Labour) said, `We are seeing the party of big business talking, because this provision… would elevate the rights of business over the rights of any other property owner. Nothing could speak more clearly to that than this provision.  If these laws are passed, they will serve as a severe infringement of every Australian’s freedom of expression, for the benefit of the oil and gas industry.` "

"If you ask people whether they trust the government to put our children’s health and well being above corporate interests; sadly but predictably, the response is more often than not a resounding `no`. This bill in the NSW government’s hands makes a mockery of democracy, takes away individual rights and severely limits the ability of a Nan to safeguard her grandchildren."

"It’s disgraceful that those who disobey these newly proposed laws could get up to seven years in prison; and for what? Protecting land, water, and food integrity? Looking out for their children and others in their care? There are provisions in the Bill that allow police to crack down on and disperse peaceful protests, give police new powers to stop and search persons and vehicles without a search warrant, and to seize property without due process or supervision by the courts."

"You may have heard the tale of the slow-boiling frog: If you put a frog in water and very slowly bring it to the boil, the frog won’t notice the danger until it’s too late. It’s worth keeping this little tale in mind each time a new bill passes into law, another tax takes a nibble out of your income, another part of our NHS is privatised and yet another school gets into the Academy business. Our democracy is being stripped away from us, the walls are closing in and our ability to do anything about it is becoming severely curtailed."

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