The Tasmanian Government’s attempt to restrict citizens’ right to protest with the Police Offences Amendment (Workplace Protection) Bill 2022 is unnecessary and anti-democratic.
The Bill continues to preference businesses’ ability to carry out work over the right of people to protest by giving broad powers to police to arrest peaceful protestors and imposing harsh penalties.
These penalties place protest amongst the worst offences in the Police Offences Act 1935, alongside loitering near children, drugging another person, setting fire to a property and assaulting a police officer. It creates penalties up to four times higher than any currently in the legislation.
These broad powers, and the history of the Bill, raise questions as to whether it will continue to burden the implied freedom of political communication. The Australia Institute Tasmania recommends the Government abandon this Bill, and instead respect the democratic right of citizens to protest.