"This new legislation goes too far. The offenses are vague and will be prone to misuse. There are real risks they could criminalize peaceful protest in breach of our international human rights obligations," Executive Director of the HRLC, Hugh de Kretser said.
Proposed new WA anti-protest laws are vague, excessive & not necessary. Parliament should reject the bill: http://t.co/CK693G9rCC— Hugh de Kretser (@HughdeKretser) March 12, 2015
The proposed legislation being discussed on Thursday in Western Australian Parliament is vague and could be prone to misuse, HRLS representative added.
The Criminal Code Amendment Bill 2015 aims to punish "physically preventing a lawful activity" and "possessing a thing for the purpose of preventing a lawful activity." It includes punishments such as imprisonment for over one year and a fine of up to $12,000. The penalty could be raised to two years and $24,000, if protesters are deemed to be aggressive and a danger to others.
Other Australia-based watchdogs also opposed the Western Australian government's plans to criminalize thumb locks and arm locks used by protesters. The Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) was joined by over 30 organizations including, unions, political and civil societies and environment groups in a move to defend the right to peaceful protest.