Defend the right to protest - defend the right to picket

The Napthine Government has tabled a Bill to amend the Summary Offences Act 1966, which would expand the powers of Police and Protective Services Officers to "move on" workers and activists who are engaged in protests, pickets and demonstrations.

The new restrictions would criminalise picketing as well as infringing the right to assemble and protest.

Under the Amendment Bill Police would be able to make orders to move on to "groups of people" instead of individuals as is currently the case. This would mean that police could issue orders for an entire peaceful assembly of union members to move on during a protest or picket. Failure to comply with such as an order could result in $720 fine (per person) and/or arrest.

The Bill also creates a scheme of "Exclusion Orders" which could ban individuals or groups of workers from specified public spaces for up to 12 months. A breach of such an Exclusion Order may lead to upt to 2 years in jail.

A person may also be arrested when they were not "caught in the act" of contravening an exclusion order; but only because the police had a "reasonable suspicion" that such a contravention has occurred!

Exclusion orders could pose further problems for union officials. If they are excluded from an area around a worksite the official's ability to represent members is limited.

It is proposed that these new powers come into being on 1 September 2014.

Express your concern about this Bill
Come to the Workers Rally
10.00AM Tuesday
18 February 2014