Seven protesters who superglued their hands to a balustrade in the public gallery of Parliament House were found not guilty on March 29 of intentionally damaging Commonwealth property.
The seven were part of a Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA) campaign that on November 30, 2016, disrupted Question Time in protest at the government's treatment of refugees. The parliamentary session was halted as security officers removed the protesters one by one.
During the two-day trial in the ACT Magistrates Court, surveillance footage was shown of parliamentary staff forcibly ripping one woman's hand free from the leather balustrade. Staff then brought out hand sanitiser gel to dissolve the glue bonding the remaining six protester's hands to the leather.
The seven were later charged with intentionally damaging Commonwealth property, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years' jail.
They pleaded not guilty, maintaining they never intended to cause any damage by their protest. They said they had been assured by a paramedic that nail polish remover could be used to remove the superglue without causing any damage to property.
In a statement released after the verdict, the Super Glue Seven said: “In late 2016 we delivered a message to parliamentarians about the humanitarian crisis underway because of the current refugee regime.
“We wanted to let them know that members of both major parties are complicit in the murder, rape, torture and child abuse of refugees and asylum seekers.
“Today we were rightly found not guilty of intentionally damaging Commonwealth property.
“We charge that the real damage to the Commonwealth is being caused by politicians like [immigration minister] Peter Dutton, who are intentionally destroying the lives of people guilty of nothing more than seeking a safe home.
“The concentration of power and mismanagement of the so-called super ministry of Home Affairs is a blight and disgrace on our democracy. The only thing super about Peter Dutton’s ministry is its ability to inflict harm on some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
“Who would believe that 2018 Australia would include dawn raids to snatch individuals from their homes? Who would believe that forcible deportations would become a part of the Australian government’s everyday activities?
“Deportations that in some cases constitute refoulement, an international crime. Children are being forcibly separated from their families — a reality disgracefully known all too well by First Nations peoples. A reality that needs to stop.
“Australia is becoming a world leader in cruelty — and the silence from Labor is deafening.
“Both sides of politics have criminalised the act of asking for help. Both the Liberal Nationals and the Labor Party have lost their moral compass.
“Until every single person in offshore detention is evacuated and resettled safely, until every single person in onshore detention is released into the community, we will continue to act.
“We stand defiant and we urge all Australians to stand up for what is right.
“We refuse to be complicit to this murderous regime.
“This is still a state of emergency. This is still a humanitarian crisis.”