Tasmania: Groundswell activists take stand against the Liberals anti-protest Bill

Grassroots environmental group Groundswell Tasmania will hold a protest outside Hobart’s Parliament House today to oppose the state Liberal government’s proposed anti-protest laws.

The new Workplaces (Protection from Protestors) Bill will be debated today, and the group believe that if this Bill is passed it will be a violation of every Tasmanian's right to freedom of speech.

Groundswell Tasmania are committed to peaceful community protest to highlight destructive environmental assaults in Tasmania and believe it is every citizen's right to speak out against ongoing unacceptable destruction of Tasmania’s natural environment.

The Liberals' proposed laws threaten peaceful protesters with huge on-the-spot fines and mandatory jail terms.

“The prison system will not be able to accommodate all the protesters who will fight for their right to free speech even if it means a jail term. Jail will not deter us.” said Groundswell Spokesperson, Dr Lisa Searle

“How can the liberal government propose spending taxpayer dollars on clogging up our prisons with peaceful protesters; while drink drivers and offenders of domestic violence get off relatively leniently?” Dr Searle.

“World Heritage protection for 74,000 hectares of forest would not be secured without peaceful protest; the Tamar Valley would have an enormous, filthy polluting pulp mill; the Franklin River would be dammed; and the Upper Florentine valley would now be a series of clearfells had there not been people willing to stand in front of the bulldozers in all these cases. The outstanding universal values of Tasmania’s forests that secured their place on the World Heritage list would have been destroyed long ago if it were not for such direct action.” said Dr. Searle.

The message is loud and clear - no government will silence the Tasmanian people.

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