The WA Liberal Party’s vague new anti-protest laws are a legal over-reach which reverse the ‘onus of proof’ and damage the credibility of the entire legal system.
Having lost several pet projects to public opposition, Barnett has moved from ignoring and ridiculing activist to trying outlaw us.
The Criminal Code Amendment (Prevention of Lawful Activity) Bill means any person suspected of preparing to use a ‘thing’ to obstruct a ‘legal activity’, could be locked up for 24 months and face huge fines.
Additionally, people charged under these laws will be forced to pay costs associated with their arrest; violent criminals aren’t even forced to pay that.
But these laws will not stop activists from putting our bodies on the line in defence of what we believe in. We know this means we are having an impact, our strategy and tactics are working. We will continue.
It begs a few questions though:
Who stands to benefit most from these laws?
Is it appropriate for governments to suppress protest?
Doesn’t that go against the principals of democracy and the will of the people?
You will have to answers those questions yourself.
First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you… then you win.
These new laws are so extreme that immediately upon their announcement local environmentalists, unions, lawyers, churches and other organisations began to form new alliances. Both Labor and Greens oppose the legislation.
This is part of a larger trend. The erosion of democracy is leading to strong ties being formed between once disparate progressive organisations.
This has happened repeatedly.
Large swathes of society have come together to defeat State Government policy from James Price Point, to the #noWAsharkcull campaign and saving the late night train services on weekends.
This time the stakes are higher. But if we work together, we can win!