Qld govt introduces protest crackdown bill
Protesters who use devices known as the "Sleeping Dragon" or the "Dragon's Den" to attach themselves to Queensland roads and train tracks could soon be breaking the law.
But they will still be able to glue themselves to roads, or fix themselves to rail lines and machinery with chains, padlocks and bike locks under the state government's protest crackdown.
A new bill introduced to state parliament on Thursday will outlaw what the government has defined as dangerous attachment devices.
Contraptions that meet the definition are those which appear to have been made to injure the person using it during its removal, or the person trying to remove it.
"The right to peacefully assemble is fundamental in our society and the government supports this right," Police Minister Mark Ryan told parliament.
"What this government does not support, and will not support, is the kind of dangerous activity that is currently happening on our roads and railways, and in our cities and rural communities."
One of the devices is known as a "Sleeping Dragon", a steel tube with an anchor point, or the more complex version that includes a metal barrel filled with concrete, dubbed the "Dragon's Den".
They are built to slow down attempts to remove protesters during a demonstration and have been used by protesters demanding action on climate change to disrupt Brisbane.
The government says police have told them there's no middle ground between existing laws allowing police to move people, and laws allowing them to act on dangerous items in public places.
Mr Ryan and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk say the use of such devices is reckless, selfish and dangerous.
Last month, Mr Ryan labelled protesters who use such devices to stop traffic as "extremists" who don't respect the law or the rights of others.
If the law passes, protesters caught using them will face up to two years in prison or a $6500 fine, and up to one year behind bars or a $2600 fine for possessing them.
Police will also have the power to search people and vehicles they suspect are carrying the devices without a warrant.
However Greens MP Michael Berkman says the proposed legislation is not necessary and erodes democracy.
"They're fear mongering to distract from their hypocrisy on climate change and obscure the fact that they are too weak to actually listen to the community's reasonable demands," he said.
© AAP 2019