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The gloves are coming off, but we will win!

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by Nick G.

Fascist measures are being put in place to try and hold a restive people back. They are a sign of the weakness of the bourgeoisie, of its fear and of its cruelty.

The velvet glove of “rights” and “democratic freedoms” is discarded for the iron fist of police violence and jail.

The Napthine government in Victoria introduced amendments to the Summary Offences Act to crack down on picket lines, protests and social action.  “Exclusions orders” banning people from identified area carry a penalty of two years jail.

The New South Wales and Queensland governments attempted to introduce legislation further restricting the freedom of unions to serve their members’ interests.  Construction workers in Western Australia are in danger of having assets including houses and cars seized because of penalties imposed under the “Fair” Work Act.  Their crime was to defy then Industry Minister Julia Gillard and take so-called “unprotected” industrial action in defence of employment conditions.

Workers who struck at the Royal Adelaide Hospital site to force the employer to comply with safety standards were ordered back to work under the “Fair” Work Act under threat of massive personal fines.  The message is clear: workers must work in unsafe conditions to meet the bosses’ deadlines.  

In Tasmania, legislation similar to Napthine’s is being introduced.  Under the guise of preventing environmentalists from entering forests to stop logging, the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Bill will cover all areas defined as “workplaces” and provide for mandatory jail time for protestors and fines for members of the public who are guilty of “inciting protests”.

Penalties include $2000 fines for invading or hindering a business, rising to $5000 if the person has the charge heard in court and is found guilty. Convictions would be automatically recorded.

Second and later offences would carry a minimum three months and up to two years in jail — which would represent Tasmania’s first mandatory imprisonment legislation.

In Queensland the government is introducing a Mineral and Energy resources (Common Provisions) Bill that will restrict the land over which objectors may seek to prevent access by mining and energy companies, and also restrict the persons entitled to make those objections.  Neighbours and concerned citizens will not be able to lodge objections to mining or CSG exploration even if they are the most affected by the activity.

In addition to every other piece of already existing repressive legislation, these measures indicate that the gloves are fast coming off, and that workers and community activists need to develop strategies for countering the wave of fascism sweeping the land.

In the end, it will be the people who are the more courageous and the more powerful. Their solidarity will overcome the cruelty of the repressive measures in fascist legislation.


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