Seven years jail for mine protesters under Mike Baird’s new laws
MEDIA RELEASE – 10 March 2016
The Greens NSW Mining Spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said it was outrageous that the NSW Government’s Inclosed Lands, Crimes and Law Enforcement Legislation Amendment (Interference) Bill 2016 currently before the parliament will change the definition of a mine site so that peaceful protesters against coal and coal seam gas will face jail sentences of up to seven years for simply expressing their democratic rights.
Section 201 of the Crimes Act 1900 was originally intended to stop serious acts of industrial sabotage by protesting mine workers in the 1980s, but the Bill before parliament expands the definition to encompass coal seam gas sites and construction sites after the courts ruled that protesters trying to stop the construction of Maules Creek coal mine could not be prosecuted under this section as it was a construction site, not a mine.
“Under these draconian laws, Wallabies Captain David Pocock and scores of ‘Knitting nannas’ could be thrown in jail for years simply for standing up for what they feel is important,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“This section of the law is intended for serious acts of sabotage. It is wrong to apply this section to someone exercising their democratic rights by standing in front of a mining truck, or trespassing with a bike lock and a banner against coal or coal seam gas.
“The government is intimidating protesters with threats of long jail terms to please their mates running the big mining and gas companies.
“Mike Baird should recognise that the significant movement by farmers and others against coal seam gas and coal in NSW is an issue requiring a political solution, not one that will be solved by police arresting protesters and throwing them in jail or issuing crippling fines.”