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National, state union leaders condemn anti-protest legislation
IN HOBART today unions urged the state government to bin the anti-protest laws.
The CPSU’s Tom Lynch said the legislation effectively criminalised nearly all forms of protest in Tasmania. “That would include protesting pensioners, the disabled, women’s groups, even forestry workers themselves,” Mr Lynch said. This law compromises a fundamental democratic freedom – the right to legally dissent, disagree and protest.”
Even the forestry workers union is against the legislation.
The CFMEU’s National Secretary Michael O’Connor spoke against the anti-democratic Bill.
“We are completely opposed to people entering worksites and chaining themselves to machinery,” Mr O’Connor said. “But the truth is that these laws are a direct assault on the civil rights of every Tasmanian and unions stand united in opposing them.
“Will Hodgman is betraying our democratic values by making peaceful protest illegal, while introducing minimum fines and mandatory jail sentences.”
ACTU Assistant Secretary Tim Lyons said the peak union body stood shoulder to shoulder with Tasmanian workers in rejecting the laws. “If this Bill goes through workers and ordinary members of the community will be silenced from promoting any opinion, or belief, in respect of a political, environmental, social, cultural or economic issue,” Mr Lyons said.
Unions Tasmania President Ros Madsen explained what the legislation would mean.
“A worker attending a union barbecue, pensioners rallying against budget cuts, a mother complaining in a shopping centre, could all be arrested under these laws.
“Unions are also deeply concerned about the proposed new penalties in these laws, including $10,000 on-the-spot fines and 3-month mandatory jail terms for ‘disrupting workplaces’. “Even promoting a protest on Facebook could see a person fined $10,000 and face five years in jail.”
Read the media release below.
Listen to the media interview in the sound file below.