Greenpeace statement on new NSW anti-protest laws

Greenpeace Australia Pacific has condemned knee-jerk new anti-protest laws introduced by the NSW State Government as anti-democratic, and indicative of a worrying trend of suppression of protest activity in Australia.

The new laws, rushed through by the NSW Government overnight, will see protestors who disrupt traffic on any bridge or tunnel in the Greater Sydney area facing fines of up to $22,000 and up to two years in jail.

Katrina Bullock, General Counsel at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said the new laws could significantly stifle advocacy and protest activity.

“These sweeping new laws, rushed through in a knee-jerk response to protest activity, are the latest in a suite of increasingly draconian regulatory measures introduced in Australia to restrict climate activism. Climate defenders are routinely receiving disproportionate and excessive penalties and bail conditions which restrict their freedom of association and assembly.”

“Minister O’Toole’s statement that “unauthorised protests have no place in our State” is tremendously concerning, and arguably anti-democratic. Advocacy and protest are vital to ensuring that the best interests of people, the planet and future generations guide our governments’ responses, not the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry. But in recent years in Australia the ability of communities and organisations to advocate for stronger climate action has come under sustained attack, which is distorting policy and damaging our democracy in the process.”

“Governments have a positive duty to facilitate peaceful protest under international human rights law, including by ensuring people are not prevented from exercising their protest rights by other groups or private companies. Governments must also ensure that any restrictions on protest action are limited to what is strictly necessary and proportionate in pursuit of a legitimate purpose.”

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Fiona Ivits on 0487 003 872 or [email protected]