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Protests against 'move on' laws disrupt state parliament

Date

Craig Butt

Protesters demonstrating against anti-protest legislation brought a sitting of the parliament to a standstill on Tuesday night before being removed from the gallery.

A police spokeswoman said about 20 protesters entered the public gallery and disrupted proceedings, causing the session to be suspended around 9pm.

At the time the upper house was debating legislation which would extend police powers to move protesters who block access to buildings or cause others to ''have a reasonable fear of violence''.

Anyone who ignores a ''move-on'' order could be arrested and face a $720 fine. Police would also have the power to obtain exclusion orders banning protesters from certain public places for 12 months.

Many of the protesters left the gallery once police and protective service officers arrived on the scene but three refused to move on and were escorted from the chamber.

The police spokeswoman said the three demonstrators would likely be charged on summons for refusing to leave the parliamentary precinct.

Jason Donnellan, one of the demonstrators who left the public gallery at his own accord, said the group was asked to leave after they called out "police state" during the debate. He said the security response was excessive and denied the group was disrupting the session.

Community and civil rights group have raised concerns about the "move-on" laws, and Australian Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson has called the laws ''excessive''.

11 comments so far

  • Democracy in Australia ? Only if you spport the govetment and stay at home. Protest and you get arrested that is not democracy. Life is about the people not the politicians. Australia is going to the dogs and it's governments fault.

    Commenter
    Bert
    Date and time
    March 12, 2014, 7:19AM
    • What a load of rubbish BERT

      Commenter
      boof
      Date and time
      March 12, 2014, 8:29AM
    • The "rent a crowd" makes another of their disruptive appearances.....what a bunch of losers! If it was up to them, we'd never progress....

      Commenter
      beth
      Date and time
      March 12, 2014, 9:34AM
  • Its all about control of the masses, Democratic society , I don't think so !

    Commenter
    Harry of Doreen
    Date and time
    March 12, 2014, 7:49AM
    • The problem is that the law is open to abuse - just like the laws that allow protests to take place. Personally, I resent knowing that I could be prevented from simply going to work should protestors choose to blockade my place of work - or even city streets - for whatever reasons they might have.

      Yes, people have the right to protest. No, they do not have the right to impede another person's right to go safely to and from their place of work every day. If I felt threatened by protestors whilst trying to go to work, I know I'd want them moved on and I'd welcome the police who did it.

      Commenter
      blu
      Location
      Geelong
      Date and time
      March 12, 2014, 8:34AM
      • You do have a right to not feel threatened but to a protester, being told to pull in your head and behave like a civilised person is akin to the government looking to turn this state into North Korea.

        Commenter
        Kev
        Date and time
        March 12, 2014, 9:01AM
      • @blue
        Your comment is reasonable and quite sensible, but it leaves out what the real problem is.
        The violence that comes between the protesters and the police when the police ask them to move and the protesters refuse.
        The police probably don’t need more powers – they just need more and better education on how to handle this situation without physical conflict.
        And the protesters need to understand that there are other people around who don’t consider they should be denied their rights to get to work.
        Surely, dialogue is always better than physical attacks.
        If people with standing and authority would speak out along those lines, perhaps things would be different!
        However, suspicious minds like mine always wonder the motives of people who encourage or allow physical conflict to continue.

        Commenter
        EM
        Date and time
        March 12, 2014, 9:04AM
      • blu, what if it was your street which was being taken over for, say, a politically driven tunnel? The protest is not meant to inconvenience you, blu, but to draw community attention to a government which is crushing an electorate where it cannot win to pick up some votes where it can -- and maybe pick up a few political donations along the way.

        These protests are so often made by the people who are most affected because they do not have the power, the money or the media access which is brought to bear by those with massive PR budgets. Take that right away and you silence a whole sector of society.

        Commenter
        jape
        Date and time
        March 12, 2014, 9:17AM
      • jape - Who says that their right to protest and voice their opinion is being taken away? They can protest. Just be reasonable in how you go about it and how long you are there for. What's wrong with that? All of you love to bleat about your rights but you never talk about responsibility. Why is that?

        The assumption that some of you are incorrectly making in attacking this law is that anyone who turns up to a protest will be told to leave immediately which I seriously doubt will happen. If you've been there for 8 hours and you still refuse to leave playing the "it's my right to protest card", any reasonable person would see that you deserve to be either dragged away or charged for refusing to cooperate.

        Commenter
        Kev
        Date and time
        March 12, 2014, 9:43AM
    • About time laws like these were brought in. Then again, the protesters will claim that Australia is turning into a totalitarian state because they are told to pull their heads in and reign in their behaviour. I didn't know that the right to protest meant that you could continue to chain yourselves to equipment, stop people getting to work and abuse those who go to work all because you disagree with the project. You've voiced your opinion, now shut up and move on.

      Commenter
      Kev
      Date and time
      March 12, 2014, 8:45AM

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