MUA joins broad coalition of community groups rallying against SA anti-protest laws




MUA joins broad coalition of community groups rallying against SA anti-protest laws

17 May 2024

At a large public demonstration yesterday, concerned citizens of South Australia rallied at Parliament House, before marching down King William Street, calling on the state government to repeal the controversial SA anti-protest law changes, on the first anniversary of their introduction.

The rally was organised by a diverse coalition of groups including, among others, Amnesty International, Australian Democracy Network, The Wilderness Society, Human Rights Law Centre, Students for Palestine, and Extinction Rebellion South Australia.

Passed by the South Australian Parliament in just 20 minutes, and without consultation, the draconian changes to the Summary Offences Act saw the maximum penalty for obstructing public place escalate from $750 to $50,000, or 3 months imprisonment.

The Maritime Union of Australia has long fought to protect the democratic right of all Australians to protest peacefully and will never back down from this position. Already in other states where similar anti-protest laws have been slammed through the Parliaments, union officials, delegates and rank and file members have been arrested on baseless charges so that police can swiftly break up otherwise peaceful and cooperative demonstrations.

CFMEU National Secretary, Christy Cain, a former MUA official, addressed the crowd and called upon the South Australian Government to walk back the laws. The SA Branch was represented by State Secretary, Brett Larkin.

“Laws like this are unjust and indefensible, so the MUA opposes them and we will fight them in every state we encounter them, including South Australia. The deliberate and cynical suppression of peaceful protests is undemocratic and unconscionable,” said Mr Larkin.

The action will launch an ongoing campaign to review and repeal the law changes, which the organisers say are having a chilling and repressive effect on peaceful protest.

“The South Australian community deserves laws that are the result of deliberation and consultation, not policy on the run, so we’re calling on the SA Parliament to go back to the drawing board and reconsider these undemocratic laws,” media spokesperson for the coalition of community and civil sociey groups Gemma Weedall said.

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