Victorian Government to introduce laws to undermine the right to protest
The Union is an active member of the Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) and is extremely concerned to receive reports that the Victorian Liberal National government, led by Denis Napthine, is set to introduce harsh amendments to the Summary Offences Act (1966).
The proposed amendments will further curtail the ability of Victorians to protest and picket over issues of concern. The proposed amendments would also expand the powers of Police and Public Safety Officers (PSOs) to “move on” workers and activists who are engaged in protests, pickets and demonstrations.
The Bill creates a new scheme of “Exclusion Orders”. Under this new scheme, it will be possible for Police to seek to ban individuals from entering a specified public space (or spaces) for up to 12 months. A breach of such an “Exclusion Order” could lead to a prison sentence of up to 2 years.
This is a very serious development and a significant assault on the rights of Victorians to peacefully assemble and to protest the actions of the government.
Just like the federal government, Napthine’s government is also critical of any scrutiny it receives and is clearly aimed at making sure unions and community organisations are not able to voice the concerns of people in public spaces.
Despite Denis Napthine claiming to be an advocate for free speech, freedom of association and freedom to peaceful assembly, it is clear the Victorian Liberal National government has little regard for such vital pillars of a strong and robust democracy.
To make sure the Victorian Liberal National government knows that Victorians won’t take this attack on our democracy lying down, the Victorian Trades Hall Council has organised a rally for 18 February at 10am.
There is also a petition to sign at http://www.weareunion.org.au/napthines_silencing_act
Details for the rally are:
Date: Tuesday Feb 18
Location: Trades Hall, marching to Parliament House
Wear: Blue or White
It absolutely important to show Denis Napthine and the Liberal National government that Victorians will not accept any attempts to undermine or remove our rights.
— Paul Elliott, assistant secretary