Protest law bid fires up meet­ing

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - BLAIR RICHARDS

A HO­BART City Coun­cil de­bate on State Gov­ern­ment anti-protest leg­is­la­tion de­scended into shout­ing last night.

Coun­cil­lor Bill Har­vey put an ur­gent no­tice of mo­tion to last night’s meet­ing call­ing on the coun­cil to write to all State Par­lia­ment mem­bers strongly urg­ing them to op­pose con­tro­ver­sial anti-protest laws.

A group of al­der­men had threat­ened to walk out over the mo­tion, ar­gu­ing it was pol­i­tick­ing by the Greens.

In­stead they stayed and the meet­ing be­came bogged down in pro­ce­dural mo­tions around the orig­i­nal mo­tion.

Cr Har­vey said he put for­ward the mo­tion be­cause he was con­cerned a range of coun­cil sites could be im­pacted by the laws, which in­clude heavy penal­ties for peo­ple who in­ter­fere with busi­ness op­er­a­tions.

“There’s all these places where peo­ple gather to voice their opin­ions and some of those places could be deemed to be (cap­tured by) these amend­ments,” Cr Har­vey said.

“I’d hate to think the peo­ple of Ho­bart are re­stricted in how they ex­press their con­cerns.”

Gen­eral man­ager Nick Heath said he hadn’t read the Bill so could not pro­vide ad­vice on whether it would im­pact on the coun­cil.

A mo­tion to de­fer Cr Har­vey’s mo­tion and seek ex­pert ad­vice was lost 5-5.

Al­der­man Tanya Deni­son said she would ab­stain from the vote, say­ing the mo­tion was “so bi­ased”.

Ald Deni­son said it was not the role of Ho­bart al­der­men to read State Gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion. Al­der­man Si­mon Behrakis ques­tioned why the coun­cil should be de­bat­ing such mo­tions at all.

De­bate con­tin­ued late last night.

Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds ad­journed the meet­ing around 9.30pm when mem­bers started shout­ing over one an­other.

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