Image for Locking away our civil rights

I RECENTLY read an article about former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown being arrested for protesting the logging of Lapoinya, near Wynyard in the North-West ( TT HERE and HERE and HERE, the arrest ).

I had to get out a map to find exactly where this state forest was located.

For a moment I thought I was reading an article that belonged in the movie Back to the Future that starred Michael J. Fox in 1985. I had been under the impression that the Tasmanian Tree Wars were a thing of the past.

I had assumed the fundamental issue of logging in Tasmania had been resolved to a somewhat acceptable conclusion.

I was dead wrong.

There was much more to this troubling situation than I had expected. In fact, the arrest of Brown, arguably the most iconic figure in the history of the Australian environmental movement, was a secondary matter in my mind compared to a more dangerous one — that there was the new potential that one of Australia’s most renowned and revered public servants could be fined $10,000 and/or imprisoned up to four years.

What? I immediately dug into this story. What I discovered convinced me that democracy and dissent are in grave danger in Tasmania.

The Orwellian named legislation, The Workplaces Bill, was nothing more than legislative Trojan Horse to eliminate democracy and dissent on the island. It was designed to intimidate people into silence. The combination of corporate interests and their obedient legislative lapdogs in the Tasmanian Parliament have created a monstrous law that fundamentally alters the course of civil affairs.

However, as I read deeper into the article in The Guardian, I became increasingly alarmed.

Read more, Mercury here

Based in the US, Dr Randall Doyle is teaching at Northeastern University in Shenyang, China, this year. A regular visitor to Tasmania, he is researching a book on Australia’s new geopolitical importance in the 21st century.

• Cassy O"Connor in Comments: A retired anaesthetist, two nurses and a local builder arrested under draconian Liberal anti-protest laws at Lapoinya are exactly the kind of Tasmanians who Minister Harriss pledged would not be targeted when the Bill was before Parliament in 2014. These Tasmanians are hardly the ‘extremist protesters’ repeatedly referred to by Paul Harriss during debate on the Bill.  It is becoming increasingly clear that Mr Harriss is the extremist. When Parliament resumes in March, the Greens will be tabling a Bill to repeal the legislation that would be better described as the ‘Protection from Mum and Dad Protesters Act’. The Liberals’ extreme anti-protest law is turning ordinary Tasmanians in to criminals and threatening the democratic right of every Tasmanian to take part in peaceful protest … Sign the Civil Liberties Australia (Tas) PETITION against the protest law HERE

Lapoinya: The Blog