Legal advice from Mr Greg Melick SC has confirmed that the government’s anti-protest laws carry “...a high risk of capturing individuals who would not in any sense be characterised as extremist”.
Mr Melick has also advised that the legislation’s sentencing regime “...diminishes the separation of powers and is likely to lead to unjust outcomes...”, and that “...it is very likely that it could be challenged as to its Constitutional validity...”.
Greens Justice spokesperson Nick McKim MP said that Mr Melick has confirmed that the laws could attach a criminal liability to farmers who deny access to their farms to a fracking company, fishers who blockade against a supertrawler, workers who picket against an unsafe workplace, and in some circumstances the pensioners who rallied against the Commonwealth budget last month.
“The government has made an absolute mess of this legislation, which apart from anything else is likely to be unconstitutional,” Mr McKim said.
“In all of the above circumstances, if found guilty by a court offenders would be sentenced to a minimum $5000 fine for the first offence, and a minimum of three months in jail for any subsequent offence.”
“This radical legislation should be withdrawn from the parliament and consigned to the rubbish bin where it belongs.”
“In his zeal to lock up environmentalists, Premier Hodgman has made this legislation so broad that farmers, fishers and workers could be caught, even in some circumstances due to action taken in a public place,” Mr McKim said.