People at the School Strike for Climate holding signs with slogans in favour of climate action

Protect the right to protest

The right to peaceful protest is a vital part of our democracy, holding our elected representatives accountable. Peaceful protest gives everyday citizens the opportunity to make their voices heard as loudly as the corporate donors that, all too often, the major parties would prefer to listen to. 

Protest works – and it has been essential in securing progress on everything from civil rights to environmental protection. 

But the right to protest is increasingly under threat. Governments around the world are cracking down on protesters, particularly climate and environment protesters – and Victoria is no exception. 

In recent years, the Victorian Labor government has taken steps to criminalise peaceful protests and activism, including:

  • Up to 12 months in prison or a $21,000 fine for protesting in forests 
  • Up to $23,000 fines for individuals, or $115,000 for organisations, who enter agricultural properties 

These laws are often introduced by stealth, under the pretence of worker safety or biosecurity, but their intention is clear – stopping peaceful activists from uncovering truths that embarrass the powerful. The forest protest laws come after years of activists successfully exposing illegal activity by government agency VicForests, while the agriculture laws follow animal activists’ uncovering of brutal mistreatment of animals. 

We need to stop this dangerous trend. The Greens stand in solidarity with peaceful protesters, and will fight to protect the right to protest from these anti-democratic laws in parliament at every step. 

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