Media Releases

Joint Media Release: Australian Lawyers Alliance and Unions Tasmania oppose anti-protest laws

March 23, 2021

The Australian Lawyers Alliance and Unions Tasmania are uniting to urge members of the Legislative Council to oppose the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Amendment Act 2019 when it reaches them this week.

After supposed urgency around the legislation in 2019, the State Liberal Government have chosen to do nothing with it for well over a year until they gave notice of the Bill’s second reading speech a mere day after national protests against gendered violence and amid allegations of assault and rape in the nation’s Parliament.

Now is a time when the right to protest is especially critical to the Australian democracy.

Fabiano Cangelosi, Tasmanian spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, said:

“Significant portions of the original Act were struck down by the High Court. What the State Government now proposes is much broader and more stifling of legitimate political activity. It also criminalises perfectly innocent behaviour that most people have at some point engaged in. It would be a devastating blow not only to our social and political discourse, but our basic ability as consumers to dispute with businesses, if the Bill were passed.”

Jessica Munday, Secretary of Unions Tasmania, said:

“The trade union movement is a movement built on protest. Many of the rights and conditions we enjoy today – workplace safety laws, equal pay – were won because the trade union movement protested for them. These laws will capture legitimate trade union activity such as nurses protesting about safe staffing levels, workers protesting against their work being outsourced or privatised, or workers who have had to stop work on site because their workplace was unsafe. Of course, these laws aren’t really about workers. They’re about politics. If the Government cared about workers, they do something job security, low wages or wage theft.”

Joint Media Release: Australian Lawyers Alliance and Unions Tasmania oppose anti-protest laws.pdf

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