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Another Authoritarian Attack on Peaceful Protesters


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Friday, 21 February 2020

Tags: Protest, Forests, WorkSafe, Native Forest Logging

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens’ Leader and Forests spokesperson

Today’s attack on the right to peaceful forest protest through WorkSafe Tasmania’s directive to the Bob Brown Foundation is a politically motivated shield for the logging industry.

It shows, again, how this Liberal Government is prepared to use authoritarian tactics to silence the voice of the community while it ramps up logging in Tasmania’s beautiful forests.

The Bob Brown Foundation has been directed to desist in all “forest protest activity throughout the State of Tasmania”, regardless of the location or form this may take.

This is a clear over-reach of Worksafe’s powers, and an overtly political act intended to silence peaceful organising and intimidate protesters. It won’t work.

Tasmanians who love this island and its forests will not be silenced or intimidated in to standing by while ancient forests are felled.

 

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens’ Workplace Safety spokesperson

Despite recognised underfunding of Worksafe’s existing investigative functions, the Regulator has already deployed ‘field assets’ into the Tarkine, ready to use the scant resources of Worksafe to infringe on the civil liberties of protesters.

An independent review in December 2018 identified a 25 per cent gap in the number of WorkSafe's field inspection staff, and insufficient resourcing to conduct investigations. The Liberal Government has still not funded this resourcing shortfall.

This reckless deployment of WorkSafe’s resources is putting the lives of workers at genuine risk in jeopardy.

Work Place Safety Regulator, Mark Cocker confirmed there has been no evidence presented of injury or death as a result of forest protest activities in Tasmania, and that neither protesters nor forestry workers have raised an issue relating to safety.

Even so, WorkSafe is cracking down without any nuance or caution for the implications to democratic rights.

If this were any other business Worksafe would not completely shut down their operations, they would work constructively with them to resolve any potential issues.

Worksafe’s politically motivated attempt to intimidate peaceful protesters simply won’t work. It’s a complete misuse of government resources and a shield for a destructive, dinosaur native forest logging industry.