A council push against the Tasmanian government’s new anti-protest bill has culminated in a deeply ironic walkout event at Hobart City Council.
Like the federal Coalition and Queensland Labor, Tasmanian Liberals are pushing for new laws against protestors who disrupt workplaces. The proposed laws — revamped from similar legislation struck down by the High Court last year as unconstitutional — could see protestors hit with up to $10,000 in fines or four years in jail, while corporations that “impede businesses” (unions) could face fines of up to $100,000.
After the bill passed Tasmania’s lower house last week, Greens councillor Bill Harvey submitted an urgent motion of notice ahead of Monday night’s meeting, one that would urge Hobart City Council members to lobby state MPs to oppose the legislation in the next house.
But the meeting descending into chaos after five dissenting aldermen — Simon Behrakis, Tanya Denison, Jeff Briscoe, Damon Thomas and Marti Zucco — followed through on a threat to walk to walk out of the meeting in order to prevent a vote on the motion.
Behrakis had previously hit out at having to vote for an urgency motion on a “Greens pet issue” that had bypassed committee debate.
As another Greens councillor Holly Ewin points out, all of this amounts to five politicians disrupting their workplace in protest of an anti-anti-protest motion. Had the laws been passed and implemented in full ahead of this week, these anti-anti-anti-protest pollies could be up for a few years in the slammer.
Who said a looming police state couldn’t be any fun?