Target: New South Wales Premier Mike Baird
Goal: Repeal the laws in New South Wales that severely punishes protesters and violates their basic rights.
The right to protest is being attacked by new laws passed by the government of New South Wales in Australia. The laws are a response to the massive protests against coal seam gas mining (CSG), a form of gas mining that has been criticized for polluting the air and contaminating ground water.
The new laws give police officers greater power to both search without warrants and seize items. The laws have increased fines for illegally entering mining sites from $550 to $5500, and anti-CSG protesters who interfere with gas sites can face up to seven years in prison. These new laws are a threat to democracy and must be repealed.
What makes these new laws particularly appalling is that they are in response to protesters who are trying to fight companies that are damaging the environment. Jeremy Buckingham, a member of the Greens Party said, “We will fight these laws because the community has a right to democracy.” The new laws clearly show that the government’s alliances are stronger with large mining corporations than they are with its citizens.
These laws are a clear abuse of power. Adam Searle, a member of Australia’s Labor Party said, “Mr [sic] Baird and his Government ministers simply do not want the community to derail any more of their bad policies through community action. They’re seeking to stifle dissent by passing these harsh and unnecessary new laws.”
The right to protest is a crucial element of democracy. By making punishments for protests so harsh, Baird is threatening an vital part of how people can voice their opinions. Sign to demand these laws be repealed in order to restore the basic human rights that they have now damaged.
Dear Premier Baird,
The laws that you have you created attack protesters and violate an integral component of democracy. The New South Wales Bar Association has even stated that the laws “remove protections for political activities that have properly been regarded as an essential part of the social, political and cultural life of any civilized society.” It is clear that you are using these laws in an effort to diminish dissatisfaction toward you and your government.
However, not only will these laws increase dissatisfaction with your government, they will create a whole new issue for people to rally around. They were initially protesting your support of large mining companies that were harming the environment. Now, they will also be fighting you for violating their human rights and attempting to silence their voices.
These laws can only cause more harm to your people, and will likely lead to more violence within the protests. This could have been avoided had you listened to the people and valued the safety of the environment rather than the energy companies you have allied yourself with. Now you have taken away people’s right to protest and have their voices heard, and we demand that you give these rights back.
[Your Name Here]
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