An open letter condemning the proposed anti-protest laws has been signed by 39 organisations. CounterAct is proud to collaborate with a range of community groups, environmental, social justice, legal and human rights organisations, as well as unions, in fighting against this draconian legislation. Click on the image below to download a copy of the letter.
Threats of 2 years jail for road disruption and visa cancellations an unconscionable attack on protest rights
Last Thursday, the NSW government flagged that it was seeking to introduce legislation that will make disrupting roads, transport and industrial facilities punishable by up to 2 years in jail and a $22,000 fine. This comes after new regulations were introduced, without the opportunity for parliamentary debate, imposing similar penalties for protests on all Greater Sydney bridges and tunnels.
Protest marchers on city roads and union groups taking action at industrial sites could come under the umbrella of these draconian laws. Everyone from school kids marching for climate action to anti-war protestors would run the risk of incurring these penalties when they set out on a march.
Such laws are incompatible with the democratic right to protest and our fundamental civil liberties. [Organisations] call on the NSW government to cease the introduction of draconian penalties for protests.
If new anti-protest legislation is introduced, we urge all members of parliament to uphold our democratic rights by voting against the legislation.
Two protestors participating in direct action in Sydney have also had their visas cancelled on the grounds that their presence posed a threat to the ‘good order of the Australian community’. This exercise of the Minister’s power does not seem merited in these circumstances and threatens the ability of people who aren’t citizens to participate in democratic expression and assembly.
We are also deeply concerned by the Acting Premier’s comments criticising protesters for seeking legal advice. Seeking legal advice is a fundamental right and not a basis for legitimate criticism.
These freedoms are a cornerstone of the Australian community. Any crackdown on our capacity to exercise them is a serious threat to democracy.
Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT
Asylum Seekers Centre
Australian Centre for International Justice
Australian Council of Social Service
Australian Democracy Network
Australian Forests and Climate Alliance
Australian Youth Climate Council
Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility
Bellingen Environment Centre
Bob Brown Foundation
Community Legal Centres NSW
Dying with Dignity NSW
Forest Conservation Victoria
Forest Defence NSW
Friends of the Earth Australia
Friends of the Forest Mogo
Frontline Action on Coal
Goongerah Environment Centre
Great Southern Forest
Greenpeace Australia Pacific
Human Rights Law Centre
Inner City Legal Centre
Jesuit Social Services
Jumbuna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research
Legal Observers NSW
Medical Association for Prevention of War
Melbourne Activist Legal Support
National Justice Project
Redfern Legal Centre
South East Region Conservation Alliance Inc
The Sunrise Project
University of Sydney Student Representative Council
WA Forest Alliance
Whitsunday Conservation Council
Youth Support + Advocacy Service