New South Wales Labor Party members will vote over October 15-16 on whether to commit to repealing the anti-democratic laws brought in by the Liberals.
This vote will decide whether standing up for democracy and freedom of political communication is an election commitment in Labor’s NSW election campaign next year.
The laws threaten two year’s jail and/or a $22,000 fine for infringements as minor as causing traffic to be redirected, briefly obstructing a road or blocking the entrance to train stations, ports and public and private infrastructure.
Unionists participating in May Day marches and school children marching for action on climate change could be punished.
The industrial action carve-out does not adequately protect unionists engaging in industrial action, acting in solidarity with one another, or with social causes.
Some of the greatest gains in history have been delivered through large-scale protest movements which would not be lawful today — the decriminalisation of homosexuality, women’s right to vote and many others.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) is urging you to tell your local Labor representative why you support repealing these draconian laws.
The capacity of community members to freely gather in protest and communicate their political views is foundational to democracy.
Right now in NSW, this capacity is severely constrained by the anti-protest laws which were rushed through parliament and enacted in April with Labor’s support.
Now is the chance for Labor to stand with protestors to protect the right to protest.
Unions NSW, community organisations and civil liberties groups have taken a stand against the laws. Please join us by contacting your Labor MPs to call on them to support the motion at the Labor Conference this weekend.
This is a crucial time to stand with communities in protecting their democratic participation. As the climate crisis escalates and consecutive governments fail to deliver on the strong action required to abate its worst effects, we know that there will only be more protest activity, not less.
When we unite, we win. Activism changes history and the right to stand together and peacefully protest must be protected and defended for everyone.
[Send a letter to Labor representatives. Josh Pallas is the president of the NSW Civil Liberties Council.]