Just back­ing up tres­pass laws

Mercury (Hobart) - - LETTERS -

IT would seem some ac­tivists be­lieve that they have a God-given right to flout the law with re­spect to tres­pass, etc, when they are protesting. The Lib­eral Govern­ment’s re­vised protest law is not some dra­co­nian in­spired law to stop protest but a much needed re­dress­ing of the bal­ance in terms of the rights of those on the re­ceiv­ing end of protests and work­place in­va­sions.

The in­tent of the protest laws is to al­low peo­ple to go about their law­ful business with­out un­due in­ter­fer­ence, re­gard­less of whether some small group has de­cided to take ex­cep­tion to that business. In the case of farm­ers this tres­pass is not only of their business but their homes. The laws do not pre­vent protest, they just but­tress ex­ist­ing tres­pass laws to in­hibit pro­test­ers in­vad­ing or blockad­ing busi­nesses and homes. This might re­duce the theatre the pro­test­ers crave, so per­haps they will now need to better ar­tic­u­late their mes­sage to make their point for pub­lic con­sid­er­a­tion. Evan Evans Lind­is­farne

No more softly, softly

GREENS leader Cassy O’Con­nor’s out­burst on protest laws is an ex­am­ple of dis­dain for the right of peo­ple to earn a liv­ing and go about their business, abid­ing by the laws of demo­crat­i­cally elected govern­ments. For too long, laws have been ig­nored, be­cause of the go-softly ap­proach adopted by those charged with up­hold­ing the law, to where they now ap­pear ir­rel­e­vant to those mas­querad­ing as pro­test­ers. Govern­ment has lit­tle op­tion than be spe­cific on what is and isn’t ac­cept­able ac­tion by un­ruly ac­tivists and make sure the present laws are pros­e­cuted to their fullest to pro­tect those whose daily lives are af­fected by this rab­ble.

Now La­bor has dis­as­so­ci­ated it­self from the green move­ment, we can ex­pect its sup­port to give Mr Hodg­man the courage to at­tack out­stand­ing mat­ters such as health, hous­ing, the need and lo­ca­tion of a new prison, and this pub­lic pro­tec­tion, with a vigour not pre­vi­ously seen and with­out the need for fur­ther reg­u­la­tion. J. Pritchard Clare­mont

Tar­get­ing con­ser­va­tion

I WAS un­der the im­pres­sion we still lived in a democ­racy but it ap­pears the Hodg­man Govern­ment’s def­i­ni­tion is a far cry from mine given its pro­posal for laws to out­law peace­ful gath­er­ings on pub­lic land, eg beaches, parks or even foot­paths to voice con­cerns over con­tro­ver­sial de­vel­op­ments. What is even more chill­ing is that the laws are ap­par­ently tar­geted at con­ser­va­tion­ists and those con­cerned about an­i­mal rights, de­struc­tion of our forests and pol­lu­tion from ex­pand­ing aqua­cul­ture So ev­ery­one who op­poses de­vel­op­ments such as Mt Welling­ton/ku­nanyi ca­ble car, Sky­way in Cataract Gorge or West­bury prison all risk steep fines and lu­di­crously lengthy jail terms.

A 21-year term for sup­port­ing Tas­ma­nia’s wilder­ness, its built her­itage and healthy oceans? Re­ally? And the thou­sands of school stu­dents protesting in­ac­tion on cli­mate change and their fears for the fu­ture. Do they fall into the “hard­core” protesting el­e­ment, as de­scribed by Min­is­ter Bar­nett? The leg­is­la­tion has no place on Tas­ma­nia’s statute books so it’s to be hoped par­lia­ment will re­ject it ab­so­lutely. Anne Lay­ton-Ben­nett Swan Bay

Vent peace­fully

PRO­TEST­ERS should not be al­lowed to go to a per­son’s place of business or work and ob­struct them from do­ing their job. Pro­test­ers who want to vent frus­tra­tions should do it peace­fully and not in­ter­fere with business and work­ers. Protests that cause in­ter­fer­ence or po­lice at­ten­dance do noth­ing for the cause in the eyes of the ma­jor­ity, rather the re­ac­tion is a neg­a­tive one ad­verse to what the protest is about. Alan Leitch Austins Ferry

Protest as feed­back

PROTESTING is a le­gal lib­erty that can be in­ter­preted as giv­ing feed­back to a business for goods or ser­vices, or used to de­scribe a mass demon­stra­tion. Given our govern­ment’s record and claims of want­ing to sim­plify bu­reau­cratic process, I’m scep­ti­cal. I’m left to pon­der cur­rent crim­i­nal laws, se­crecy laws, con­tempt laws, anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion laws, in­for­ma­tion laws, in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty laws, me­dia and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions laws against our cit­i­zen, hu­man and con­sumer rights. Let’s not for­get to an­a­lyse the facts, in­clud­ing past need for such ac­tion and the out­comes. Kelly Sims Glenorchy City Coun­cil

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