New anti-protest laws were passed through the Tasmanian Lower House on June 26. These laws will allow the police to arrest anyone who ‘interrupts a business’ that provides employment and wealth generation to Tasmania. This includes government run and owned facilities.
By Nathan Warne
Interrupting a business has been worded so vaguely that it could mean almost anything. Even standing in a public place holding sign could be interpreted as ‘interrupting’ according to many lawyers. The police will be given discretion which opens the way for misuse.
The laws allow for on the spot fines of up to $10,000 for an individual and a minimum of 3 months imprisonment for repeat protestors.
This new bill, as well as the Police Offences Amendment Bill, which allows the police to search and detain anyone they think might commit a crime, are an attempt to crack down on democratic rights.
State and federal governments are expecting resistance to the unpopular cuts they are pushing through. These laws are designed to silence dissenting voices. They will also be used against people defending jobs and conditions in the future and those protesting against environmental destruction. They must be defied and opposed.