Protesters Face Mandatory Jail Time under new Liberal Government Laws
Smug inner-city latte types in conjunction with tiny exercises in random anarchy present “Why Does The Liberal Party Hate our Freedoms?”
The state Liberal government in Tasmania will introduce new laws that could see mandatory three-month prison sentences imposed on protesters and fines for those who “incite” protests.
The government argues that the laws are necessary to “protect law-abiding Tasmanians from protesters invading their workplaces”.
The laws will impose a $2,000 on-the-spot fine for someone who is “invading” or “hindering a business”, with the penalty rising to $5,000 if the matter is heard in court with a subsequent guilty verdict.
A second such offence will see protesters jailed for a mandatory three-month term, with a potential maximum term of two years.
There will also be “heavy fines” for people who “incite” others to enter or damage a business, or to “disrupt its activities.”
It is anticipated that the new laws will be used to target protesters who are unhappy with the logging of Tasmanian forests, but the state government said they could also apply to other business sites.
Paul Harriss, Tasmania’s resources minister, said that while the government supported the right to peaceful protest, the bill would be aimed “fairly and squarely at those protesters who are not merely wishing to have their say, but who are trying to force their will on to others by stopping their work”.
“We saw too many of these protests tolerated under the previous Labor-Green government,” he said.
“They not only cost businesses and individuals by halting production, but also put at risk the safety of themselves and others.”
Harriss added that the legislation made it clear that Tasmanians had the right to earn a living “without having extremist protesters come on to their workplaces”.
However, opponents of the legislation claim it is heavy-handed, unfairly restricts the right to protest and places inappropriate mandatory sentences upon individuals.
“It’s a fundamental principle that our democracy is founded on, that the separation of parliament and the courts be maintained,’’ said Anthony Mihal, president of the Law Society of Tasmania.
“These laws are founded on concerns of courts being too lenient. Those concerns are wrong. People do and have been imprisoned.’’
The Tasmanian government’s legislation follows a similar crackdown on protests in Victoria, where protesters risk two years’ imprisonment if they breach a police-issued ban on them entering a particular public space.