Dutton slams ‘weak’ penalties for activists
MANDATORY sentences should be imposed on law-breaking Queensland protesters to stop regular disruptive civil actions, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says.
Mr Dutton has labelled current penalties weak and called on the State Government to speedily pass laws increasing minimum sentences.
"The state government can pass laws that do reflect community standards and, at the moment, they don't," Mr Dutton told 2GB on Thursday.
"A community expectation is that these people are heavily fined or jailed."
The Queensland MP also took aim at magistrates who impose "slap on the wrist" penalties on protesters.
"They (protesters) keep turning up, week after week, because they know the slap on the wrist is just not working," Mr Dutton said.
Six people were charged with obstruction offences on Wednesday after a road-blocking protest by Extinction Rebellion in the Brisbane CBD during morning peak hour.
Two days earlier, four people involved in the same group were charged over a protest in which a woman climbed up a large tripodon a high-traffic CBD bridge at a similar time.
It has followed months of regular protest actions in Brisbane and elsewhere in the state attended by thousands of people, mostly over environmental issues such as climate change and Adani's central Queensland coal mine.
The state Labor government has moved to outlaw items used by protesters which make it harder for them to be removed from roadsand train tracks, such as steel cylinders or drums filled with concrete.
The new laws could see those who use such items face prison time and hefty fines.