Today the Queensland Government will debate laws cracking down on protesting in Queensland. The new laws are likely to be passed shortly and include:
- Increased powers for police to stop and search protestors and vehicles
- Increased penalties for using a range of ‘lock-on’ devices, whether or not they are intended to cause harm
The laws are purportedly designed to regulate ‘dangerous attachment devices’, however a range of passive devices have been captured by them.
The Queensland Government has struggled to produce evidence that these passive devices are generally being used in a dangerous way, that the existing law is insufficient and that the reforms would do anything other than crack down on peaceful protest.
The Government’s Parliamentary Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee has released photos which it claims are evidence of the use of dangerous attachment devices and the need for stronger laws. There is no clear link between the photos and recent protests, with some images being from an incident in January 2018 which resulted in charges being laid under existing law.
“Any laws that may infringe on important rights such as peaceful protest ought to be subject to a detailed and proper parliamentary scrutiny process. We are concerned that this has not occurred in this instance,” said Bridget Burton, Director of Caxton Legal Centre’s Human Rights and Civil Law Practice.
No evidence has been produced that the disruption involved in the Brisbane CBD climate change protests has included any dangerous devices, or that anyone associated has caused any injury or intended to cause harm of any kind to any person.
“If the Government cannot prove that this law is a proportionate response to real danger then this is not a sensible crackdown on dangerous protest,” she said.
Media Contact: Bridget Burton (07) 3214 6333