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Premier Confirms Anti-Protest Laws Pure Politics

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 23 November 2020

Tags: Anti-Protest Laws, Freedom of Speech, Protest

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader

Almost a year to the day since the Liberals gagged Parliamentary debate to ram through their draconian Workplace (Protection from Protestors) Amendment Bill, Premier Gutwein has confirmed in Estimates the legislation was not urgent or needed.

After initially claiming the Legislative Council hadn’t brought on for debate because it didn’t relate to the COVID pandemic response, the Premier relented in the face of evidence presented by the Greens. 

There are only two Bills outstanding in the Legislative Council from 2019; anti-protest and mandatory sentencing legislation. Both of which the government knows they will likely lose on the vote.

The Parliament passed all sorts of miscellaneous legislation in 2020 – including such legislation as the ANZAC Day Trust Winding Up Bill. It was embarrassing and untrue for the Premier to claim the Parliament has been entirely focussed on COVID Bills.

The Anti-Protest laws were not urgent. There was no need for debate on the Bill to be gagged and pushed through the Lower House a year ago. 

After giving up the COVID defence, Premier Gutwein then said his government would decide the timing of the anti-protest laws debate in the Legislative Council. Mr Gutwein went on to say he wouldn’t discuss parliamentary tactics.

Constitutional and legal experts are clear, the anti protest amendment Bill is bad law. it’s not needed and it most certainly is not urgent. It’s clear from today’s comments even the Premier knows the draconian anti-protest law amendments were always, and continue to be, pure politics.