Shame on Barnett Government as proposed anti-protest Bill draws UN criticism

The Barnett Government has embarrassed WA by proposing anti-protest laws that have drawn international criticism from the highest level, Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren says, following news this morning United Nations human rights special rapporteurs have condemned the proposed legislation. 

“This is a huge embarrassment for our State and a clear signal the Barnett Government should dump its outrageously anti-democratic anti-protest Bill unless it wants to bring more shame upon us ,” Ms MacLaren said. 

“If this Government wants to hold its head high in the international community including trading partners, it should consider the potential effect on its reputation of bringing in legislation that three United Nations  special rapporteurs on international human rights laws have warned unambiguously is anti-democratic and counter to international human rights law. 

“WA is once again in the international spotlight for all the wrong reasons, thanks to this Government’s anti-democratic, anti-environment agenda. 

“The comments by UN Special Rapporteurs David Kaye, Maina Kiai and Michel Forst, in their press release issued today,  echo the Greens’ chief concerns about the Government’s Prevention of Lawful Activity Bill – being it would criminalise a wide range of legitimate conduct by reversing the onus of proof and disproportionately punish acts of peaceful protest, including up to two year jail terms and huge fines. 

“After a debate stretching over the past year in the Legislative Council, the Bill is set to be voted on this week and I suggest Liberal and National party MPs turn to their conscience about what kind of State they want to live in. 

“The Greens oppose the Bill as it is and have moved to send it to a Committee. I am speaking on our motion today just after 2pm. Supporting the motion for a committee review is perhaps the last opportunity for the Government to save face, short of withdrawing the Bill altogether.”