Victorian Politics

Victoria’s ‘move on’ laws affect farmers too

Here’s a letter I submitted to the editor of the Warragul Gazette prior to the move on laws being passed into law.

In a week or so the Victorian Parliament will debate proposed amendments to the Summary Offences Act to crack down on protests and remove the protection for Victorians’ right to peaceful assembly.

If passed it will mean that you or I, trying to protect our land and water from contamination from unconventional gas mining by peacefully blockading, could be jailed for 2 years.

The Napthine government wants to shut down peaceful protest, removing the right to assemble which I think is outrageous. 

If the government is not prepared to act to protect our farmland then it falls to the landholders and supporters to do it themselves. There is now ample evidence that the Gippsland community is overwhelmingly against the unconventional gas industry and yet both the Lib/ Nats and Labor remain either on the fence or hiding their intentions until after this year’s election.

If these amendments are passed then your local MPs Gary Blackwood, Russell Northe, Tim Bull and Peter Ryan may well see their farming constituents the first to be jailed as a result. Won’t that be an interesting turn of events?

The Greens are the only major party clearly opposed to the unconventional gas industry and will certainly be voting against these amendments that offend our basic rights.

I suggest readers make their views known to Gary Blackwood this week before he votes. I believe these kinds of legislative changes can only happen when citizens are either uninformed or apathetic and if I’m wrong in my belief then heaven help our democracy.


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