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Ending dissent: jail time for peaceful protests

Story & image Dr Liz Elliott

New police-state laws have recently been passed by the Turnbull government, with support from the ALP. Actions that could harm the ‘reputation’ of the government on matters political, ecological or economic can now be prosecuted as serious national security offences.

Reputation, a subjective notion, is to be mandated as ‘government = good’. Orwellian indeed.

This from a government that scaped in by a tiny majority, whose record is dithering on important matters, like climate change and education, while acting expeditiously on matters to benefit centralised and corporate rule.

Prison of truth

This means that peaceful blockades of coal operations or exposing the truth about Nauru could carry prison sentences of up to 25 years. 

Anti-war protestors can also be prosecuted. Already individual anti-mine protestors have been fined $5,000 while mining corporations could also be fined the same amount.

Fiefdom of Oz

This is part of a sequence of laws designed to turn Australia into a minerals/banking fiefdom. It seems as if they are foreign influenced, as similar laws have appeared in other countries lock step, often under the banner of national security. Even more mysteriously, these laws are supported by the formerly noble ALP.

There is no current emergency, yet governments everywhere enact stepwise, pincer movement containment laws to suppress possible dissent.

Earlier this year we were handed the ‘Bail-In’ laws, wherein ordinary depositors can be fleeced to pay for bank speculation, and then the attempt to tie up charities and civil organisations so they cannot make political statements. Unions have already been tied up in red tape. No discussion in media or debate in parliament!

Australia seems to be designated as a quarry, with compliant locals accepting foreign workers, and then off to war whenever the US petro-dollar calls.

Think this won’t happen soon? The Turnbull government just authorised the gaoling of ‘Witness K’ and his lawyer for exposing Howard government actions spying on the East Timorese so as to steal oil reserves.

Rights charter

How can rulers get away with this? One major reason is that Australia has no Human Rights Charter. Thus refugees can suffer in hellholes, and whistleblowers be jailed, and the courts have no way to constrain despotic politicians. Our constitution is brief, and addresses only property, religious and state freedoms and has an ‘implied’ freedom of political communication.

In the US and most other democracies, courts can challenge decisions that threaten vulnerable people, privacy and freedom of speech. The Dutch have enshrined the ‘right to have a habitable environment’.

On Monday 16 July, 80 people gathered in Mullumbimby Civic Hall to establish a Human Rights Charter. A similar group is meeting in Lismore, and it is hoped more areas will follow.

After drafting a Charter based on Gillian Triggs’s rewording of the 2006 Victorian Charter of Rights, and circulating it amongst the 80 people, the document will be presented to local residents by a door-to-door campaign such as the successful ones of the anti-CSG movement and the Bernie Sanders campaign in USA.

Area by area we may reverse this governmental intention to stifle us, the very people who legitimised government. Your basic rights are at stake!

Updates can be found online at www.ngarainstitute.org.au.


2 responses to “Ending dissent: jail time for peaceful protests”

  1. Hotspringer says:

    Would expect this of the regime, but SHAME, LABOR, SHAME.

  2. don says:

    check oz off my bucket list. randon drug stops, dogs, uncaring of koalas, this. You guys are passing us by in the u.s.. Ithought it was bad here.
    Might as well stay here.

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