10,000 signatures reached
To: The Premier, Colin Barnett
Stop the WA laws that would see protesters jailed
The Criminal Code Amendment (Prevention of Lawful Activity) Bill 2015 is excessive and draconian. I want it to be withdrawn.
The new law would allow for peaceful protesters to be jailed for up to 2 years or fined up to $24,000.
The law would also reverse the onus of proof - meaning accused people have to prove that they are innocent, rather than prosecutors having to prove that they have a case. This is an attack on our democratic freedoms and is totally unacceptable to me.
The law would also allow for offender(s) under this Act to be made to pay for police time and attendance. There doesn't appear to be a WA precedent for offenders being required to pay for police attendance or time, and if passed in its current form would set a worrying precedent for the policing of criminal behaviour.
Why is this important?
Peaceful protest has been critical to securing some of our most basic freedoms including the 8-hour working day and women's suffrage. It was central to the protection of old-growth forests in the south-west.
The Barnett Government wants to pass new laws that would allow for peaceful protesters to be jailed for 2 years for 'preventing a lawful activity'. This could include picket lines, office sit-ins, farmers locking the gate to prevent fracking companies from accessing their land and people stopping bulldozers from logging or land-clearing.
For example, if a farmer locks their gate to protect their land from fracking that is going ahead against their will, they could be jailed for 2 years under this new law.
You could also be jailed for possessing a 'thing' that police believe you intend to use to stop work.
It is a terrible new law that would reverse the onus of proof so you'd have to prove your innocence, rather than prosecutors having to prove your guilt.
We need to stop this law being passed. It is an attack on our freedoms, and on our ability to protect our rights, and the places we love, when official channels fail us.
How it will be delivered
We will hand deliver the signatures, then host a press conference with a broad alliance of organisations and individuals opposing this bill.