Protests, Whistleblowers, Could be Crippled

pic: Osvaldo Gargo

Bipartisan attack on democracy fails to protect whistleblowers, protesters, says Greenpeace

June 8, 2017: New legislation will cripple the ability of ordinary people to protest and fails to protect whistleblowers despite 60 recommendations by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

The recommendations were an attempt to mitigate the concerns of journalists and not-for-profits ahead of expected bipartisan support of the bill by the Labor Party and Coalition.

“Even if all of these recommendations are adopted this legislation will still have the potential to criminalise forms of peaceful protest and infringe on the basic democratic rights of Australians to tell the government they are not doing a good enough job,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific campaigner Holly Dawson said.

“It will cripple the ability of Australian environmental organisations to communicate with institutions such as the United Nations on international issues like climate change. Without detailed amendments, whistleblowing on breaches of international laws could still be considered espionage.

“If the Labor Party and Coalition insist on forcing this legislation through parliament they will be betraying the people of Australia.”

Greenpeace Australia Pacific is calling on both the Labor Party and Coalition to introduce amendments to protect the ability of ordinary people to protest as well as carving out more explicit protection for whistleblowers.

“This legislation also fails to protect whistleblowers with penalties of up to 25 years in prison for people who draw attention to things like environmental law breaches or human rights violations that might cause other countries to ‘lose trust or confidence’ in the Australian Government,” Dawson said.

“Stopping people from blowing the whistle on the government is completely unacceptable. When our leaders fall short or break the law they must be held to account and this legislation would seek to silence critical voices.”

Simon Black

About the author

Simon is Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Media Campaigner