Police ‘disappointed’ by delay on protest laws
Police Minister Liza Harvey says WA Police will be disappointed laws it wanted to clamp down on extreme protests have little hope of passing in the remaining seven weeks of the parliamentary term.
The Criminal Code Amendment (Prevent Unlawful Activity) Bill was introduced to Parliament in February last year and passed the Legislative Council a year later.
Pitched by the Government as necessary to curb evolving tactics, including thumb locks and other devices to lock on to machinery and equipment, critics claimed the Bill’s broad drafting would outlaw reasonable protest activity.
It created new criminal offences punishable by up to two years jail or a $24,000 fine for “physically preventing lawful activity” or possessing any “thing” suspected to be used for that offence, reversed the onus of proof and ensured cost recovery for any police response.
Mrs Harvey said its passage was “probably unlikely with the parliamentary schedule that we have”.
“Police will be disappointed,” she said. “Obviously that legislation was drafted at the request of police to assist them in managing extreme protest law activity.
“The legislation would have assisted police in that.
“Thankfully those kinds of protest actions are quite rare in WA so as far as an impending priority, it’s probably lower on the list than some of the other legislative priorities that are before us.”