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Anti-Protest Legislation

Parliamentary Activity - Wednesday, 27 November 2019, Cassy O'Connor MP


Anti-Protest Legislation: Cassy O'Connor, 27 November 2019

 

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN

Why do you want to lock up our children, who were striking for a safe climate in their thousands in September this year, the 6000 or more Tasmanians who gathered in the foothills of kunanyi in May 2018 to defend the mountain, workers challenging employers over wage theft and the fly fishermen and bushwalkers challenging your privatisation of Halls Island in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park? Is your brand of authoritarism more inspired by Chairman Xi, Vladimir Putin or North Korean President, Kim Jong-un?

Mr FERGUSON - Madam Speaker, you might allow the Premier to answer it if he wishes to but it is clearly pre-empting an order of the day, noting that the Leader of the Greens was previously having a sook about not getting a housing question up.

Ms O'BYRNE - Point of order, the reality is, as Leader of Government Business well knows, if it is a matter of significant public importance, the question can still be asked and has been asked, historically, in this House.

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, could we please have a little calm. The Premier may answer as he feels fit.

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I am more than happy to do so, noting the joint attack from Labor and the Greens and the strong defence of her colleagues, the Greens, by the member for Bass, Ms O'Byrne.

I am prepared to speak to the bill we are bringing forward - and to dispel the untrue claims of the leader of the Opposition as to this bill's intent and its application, which is not as she describes - to allow Tasmanians to be able to get to work, to run a business, to participate in what is the country's strongest-performing economy, with 1600 more businesses now operating in this state than when we came into Government. We have the most confident business conditions in the country, most supportive of Government policies of any business communities in the country, which is a far cry from where they were under Labor and the Greens when they were operating under recession and depression.

Ms O'CONNOR - Madam Speaker, point of order, relevance. This has nothing to do with the Tasmanian economy. I have asked the Premier why he wants to lock up our children, or people who are protesting to protect the mountain, or workers protesting against wage theft.

Madam SPEAKER - It is not a point of order.

Mr HODGMAN - What the Greens say is entirely untrue. It is not the case that the legislation does more than allow people to go to work, run a business, and we stand for the workers. We are the party in this place that stands for the workers. Despite what the Leader of the Opposition promised her party faithful at their state conference this year, that they would no longer they stand with the Greens, on the very day -

Members interjecting.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I cannot hear the Premier trying to worm his way out of this draconian legislation.

 

Recognition of Visitors

Madam SPEAKER - Honourable members, I point out this is most unruly, particularly as we have some wonderful students from the TasTAFE Migrant class. They are here from 10.30 a.m. to 11 a.m. We welcome you to our robust parliament.

Members - Hear, hear.

 

Mr HODGMAN - It has become very loud in here as Labor Party members try to drown me pointing out that it was the Labor leader who got up at the State Labor Conference and said, 'That's it, no longer will we stand with the Greens. We think they block things happening in this state. We think they get in the way of progress'. Well, they are going to stand beside them today - and of all things, on a bill that is all about protecting workers. It shows how far they have lurched to the left. You cannot trust the Leader of the Opposition, Ms White, because she tells the party faithful, 'We are not going to stand with the Greens any more.' I invite Labor members across the state to tune in this evening and watch the Labor Party standing alongside the Greens, on a bill that is all about protecting people with the right to go to work, to be employed, for businesses to prosper.

It is a bill that is supported by, amongst others, the TFGA, the TCCI, FIAT, the Tasmanian Minerals, Manufacturing and Energy Council, the Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council and the Tasmanian Small Business Council. That is who we will be standing alongside, and standing up for today, with respect to this legislation.

There are provisions in this bill that will protect those who simply want to earn a living, or employ others in their business. This is in no way going to prevent the lawful and peaceful protest of people with views on matters of concern to them. We welcome that, and we have been quite prepared to engage with those who have a view contrary to Government, to allow them to express their views publicly in whatever way suits them, and by doing so upholding the value of free speech, which is an essential part of our civil society.

We will allow that to continue, but where we see political protesters wanting to get in and disrupt businesses, including the farms that the -

Madam SPEAKER - Premier -

Mr HODGMAN - Leader of the Opposition has now

Madam SPEAKER - Premier -

Mr HODGMAN - suddenly taken an interest in - it is farms across the country that have been subject to -

Madam SPEAKER - Premier, I am speaking. We are not allowed to discuss the debating topics of the motion that will be coming forward today. I respectfully ask you to wind up. You have gone over five minutes.

Mr HODGMAN - Thank you, Madam Speaker. I was encouraged to speak to -

Madam SPEAKER - Premier, five minutes.

Mr HODGMAN - I was going to conclude, I was encouraged speak to the provisions of the bill. There will be considerable debate on this matter. We will be standing up for workers. Labor will again be standing with the Greens.