The Queensland government this week announced an extraordinary set of expanded police search powers, designed to crack down on environmental protesters. The centre of Brisbane has seen a series of demonstrations led by climate change activists Extinction Rebellion in recent months, and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk argued that their “sinister” tactics and disruption of traffic warranted tougher laws.
But the basis for Palaszczuk’s expansion of police power appears questionable. The premier cited advice from police commissioner Katarina Carroll, alleging that protesters were using locking devices, and devices loaded with fragments of glass to stop them being removed. Yet there is no evidence of climate protesters using such devices.