Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for LOCAL GOVERNMENT, Mr GUTWEIN
Are you aware of the Clarence City Council's outrageous attempts to shut down peaceful assembly and protest in their municipality? The Clarence City Council Public Places By-Law (No. 1 of 2018), tabled during the last sitting, banned the organising of, or participation in, an assembly, rally, public speaking or similar activity unless the written authority of the council's general manager is obtained. The same goes for beach cricket, which is prohibited without a permit.
Do you agree this reactionary by-law that follows the community unrest over Kangaroo Bay and Rosny Hill has strong authoritarian overtones and is likely to be in breach of the Australian Constitution? As minister, were you consulted about this attempt to shut down peaceful assembly and a protest? Do you support Clarence City Council's by-law, the ban on peaceful assembly and on beach cricket?
Mr Hidding - That was more like six questions.
Ms O'Connor - This is a serious question of freedom of assembly.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. Ms O'Connor and Mr Hidding, both of you should know better.
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. Let us be clear that by-laws are a matter for local government.
Ms O'Connor - No, they're a matter for this parliament. It is tabled.
Mr GUTWEIN - They are tabled here, but by-laws are passed at the council table.
Ms O'Connor - Do you support the ban on peaceful protest?
Madam SPEAKER - Ms O'Connor, you are on your first warning.
Mr GUTWEIN - It sounds like the Greens, noting the understanding of their own irrelevance are now focusing more on local government matters. What I suggest to the member is that if you have a concern, write a letter to the council.
I could not help noting that Kangaroo Bay was mentioned by the member. There is expected to be foreign investment in a project at Kangaroo Bay and once again we see the soft underbelly of the Greens being demonstrated here in their views about investment in Tasmania from offshore.
Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Madam Speaker. Standing order 45: this question was about the by-law, a very serious concern about the by-law, and we want to know whether the minister supports the ban on protest and on beach cricket?
Madam SPEAKER - With all due relevance to standing order 45, I ask the minister to proceed and, hopefully, something will come out of his mouth that will answer that question.
Mr GUTWEIN - I support democracy, which obviously the Greens do not. I make the point that if the member has a problem with a by-law passed by a local council then she should take that matter up with the local council.