Protest law bid fires up meeting
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.