Climate Activism and Australians’ Right to Protest is Under Threat

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Protesters can face up to two-year jail terms or fines of up to $25,000 as State governments around Australia have started taking stronger action through legislation. 19-year-old Matilda Lane-Rose is facing 5 years in jail for attempting to spray paint the outside of the CEO of Woodside’s house in Perth.

Western Australia

In WA protests can be considered illegal if police deem protestors are trespassing, remaining in a public place after being asked to leave, intending to cause harm to others, setting out to damage property, or causing a traffic hazard or obstruction. In these cases, protesters can face up to two-year jail terms or fines of up to $25,000

 Australia’s ABC 4 Corners Program on October 9:  Escalation -takes you inside the crackdown of peaceful protest in Australia, and the fight for our oceans and climate in Western Australia against fossil fuel giant Woodside. Watch https://iview.abc.net.au/video/NC2303H037S00

your right to protest

19-year-old Matilda Lane-Rose is facing 5 years in jail for attempting to spray paint the outside of the CEO of Woodside’s house.

She is facing serious legal consequences over a foiled protest outside the home of the boss of an energy giant Woodside She’s also been given a violence restraining order, had her home raided and her possessions seized. Matilda has also been banned from associating with fellow activists from Disrupt Burrup Hub’s fellow campaigners.

The group was protesting against the expansion of the gas Fields in Murujuga Country in Western Australia’s Burrup Peninsula

She gave an interview to Tessa Fok from SBS News Read the full story on SBS News Channel

NSW

The NSW government has passed laws to punish disruptive climate protests, targeting people whose actions disrupt businesses and economic activity such as by blocking roads and ports, with up to two years in maximum security prison and $22,000 in fines.

In December 2022, Deanna “Violet” Coco, who blocked traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge to raise awareness for climate change was the first person to be handed a prison sentence under new laws passed by NSW.

VICTORIA

The Government in Victoria passed  The Sustainable Forests Timber Amendment (Timber Harvesting Safety Zones) Bill 2022 to establish new laws to deter protests against logging in forests. Under the new laws, peaceful protestors could face fines of up to $21,000 or 12 months in prison if found to be interfering with logging in Victorian forests.

QUEENSLAND

In 2019 the Queensland Parliament passed a law that criminalizes peaceful protest tactics and infringes on Queenslanders’ right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly.

Alice Drury, Lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said the case for the laws had not been made.

“This law is fundamentally about stopping people from engaging in forms of peaceful protest. People have a right to come together to express their opinions on issues they care deeply about. This is a knee-jerk response and a band-aid solution by the Queensland Government.”

Your Right To Protest – Become Aware of the Laws in Your State 

Z Feed provides a brief rundown on the laws for each state. These regulations on protests can definitely be used by the authorities to restrict organisers but you’re still better off knowing, than not. The interpretation of these regulations and laws essentially comes down to the interpretation of police officers in attendance.

For more details on State Laws Jump to: VICNSWQLDWASATASACTNT


Jacquie Walker Editor, Conscious Living Magazine collated this information to help bring awareness to the changed state laws that affect people’s rights to protest in Australia.

Sources:

Escalation ABC 4 Corners 9th October https://iview.abc.net.au/video/NC2303H037S00

Why Australia’s answer to Greta Thunberg is facing years behind bars – Published 12 October 2023 5:40 am; Updated 12 October 2023 10:59 am By Tessa Fox, Source: SBS News https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/why-australias-answer-to-greta-thunberg-is-facing-years-behind-bars/ionacwx5y

Victoria ‘anti-protest’ forest bill passes August 2022 https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7848249/victoria-anti-protest-forest-bill-passes/

QLD anti-protest laws pass despite glaring human rights concerns – Human Rights Law Centre https://www.hrlc.org.au/news/2019/10/24/qld-anti-protest-laws-pass-despite-glaring-human-rights-concerns 

The Protest Laws Across Australia You Should Know Before You Show Up  https://zeefeed.com.au/protest-laws-australia/


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