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Tasmania to reintroduce Workplace Protection Bill

The Tasmanian Government will re-introduce anti-protest legislation which that failed to pass in the Upper House earlier this year. Resources Minister Guy Barnett told Parliament on Tuesday the government had a mandate to re-prosecute its workplace protection laws. Source: Timberbiz

He said the bill would ensure workers had the right to work free from intrusion, intimidation and threats from protesters.

Mr Barnett said the bill would be based on the government’s previous bill and would take into account federal legislation and similar legislation from other Australian jurisdictions.

“The Tasmanian Liberal Government makes no apology for trying to ensure Tasmanians can go to work and run their businesses in a safe manner free from threats and disruption,” Mr Barnett said.

“Tasmanians have had enough of radical extremists invading workplaces and threatening and endangering staff.

“Our Workplace Protection Bill will complement legislation already passed in the Federal Parliament where it received bi-partisan support.

“Labor governments and oppositions across the country have supported similar legislation and it is time that the Tasmanian Labor Opposition finally threw its support behind Tasmanian workers rather than standing side-by-side with the Greens and the Bob Brown Foundation.

And to be very clear, this Bill is not about stopping Tasmanians from protesting.”

Mr Barnett said the Government respected the right of every Tasmanian to express their views and protest lawfully.

“This Bill won’t stop legal protests outside hospitals, schools or climate change protests in streets or on footpaths,” he said.

“This Bill is simply about protecting Tasmanian businesses, workers and families from illegal threats, disruption and ongoing disruption from extremist protesters.”

Mr Barnett said the Bill was needed because the existing laws were clearly not adequately discouraging extremist protesters from invading Tasmanian workplaces and disrupting legally operating businesses.

“We have listened to industry and workers which is why we will bring our Workplace Protection Bill legislation back before the House in coming weeks,” he said.

“If Labor really wants a fresh start, then it’s time to support hard working Tasmanians and support this Bill and send a clear message that workplace invasions and disruptions have no place in this State.”

The High Court of Australia ruled against Tasmania’s previous anti-protest laws which were introduced in 2014.

The court found the laws burdened the implied freedom of political communication. It found provisions in the previous act were invalid when applied to forestry land and related business access areas.