Several hundred Aboriginal community members and their supporters gathered on Hobart parliament house lawns to mark Invasion Day on January 26. There was a one minute silence observed whilst a wreath was slowly walked down two rows of those who gathered and placed on the steps to parliament house. People were welcomed to country and reminded that the Aboriginal people do not recognise today as Australia Day, that they do not celebrate this day, and that their land was stolen, that they will never give up and will never go away.
Tasmania’s Liberal government has amended its anti-protest bill to allay fears from concerned groups who say the laws are undemocratic and a threat to free speech. The laws were passed in the state’s Upper House on October 30, and will be further amended by a committee. A coalition of more than 20 community groups, including unions, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, The Wilderness Society and the Australian Lawyers Alliance, released a joint statement urging parliamentarians to drop the Bill.
More than 300 concerned citizens took part in a peaceful people’s picket on August 19 at Tasmania’s parliament house to protest against a bill that would ban the right to protest. The Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Bill, introduced by the state Liberal government, passed Tasmania’s lower house in June. It is due to be debated in the upper house in late October. The bill makes it an offence to hold a protest that prevents business activity. Protesters can be given on-the-spot fines of $2000. Three-month mandatory jail sentences will apply for second offences.
More than 150 people gathered at a public meeting in Hobart on April 3 to discuss the problems and solutions related to Forestry Tasmania, the government-owned company established to manage the state’s forest assets. The audience heard from Associate Professor Graeme Wells, Dr Frank Nicklason, Environment Tasmania’s Dr Phil Pullinger, veteran forest activist Geoff Law and Dr Andrew Lohrey.