OPINION: Throw the book at ‘em!

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Activists are so angry about what they call “global warming” that they are blocking roads, invading ports, and locking themselves to equipment at mines.

It has been one of the coldest starts to winter on record. Canberra recorded its coldest morning since the 1980s the other day. At the same time, we are seeing a surge on people protesting that it is too hot.

I would have more sympathy for these morons if they could deliver some of us this warming that they keep harping on about. But they are worse than morons, they are breaking the law. Their behaviour is illegal and puts people’s lives at risks. When these activists climb onto coal loaders or superglue themselves to roads, they not only put their safety at risk but the poor workers who have to get them down are put at risk too.

They also do not seem to understand that the superglues they use are made from the very fossil fuels they are campaigning against. We are experiencing a spike in such stupidity right now. Because these activities affect major roads and thousands of people, there is a public outcry. Invariably governments will eventually respond to the outrage with some kind of crackdown. But then the months pass, governments move on and the cycle continues.

There has to be a concerted effort to increase the penalties for those that break the law and put people’s lives at risk. A few years ago, a swarm of hundreds of animal activists invaded a farm in southern Queensland. The dramatic footage did make the nightly news. And the former Liberal-National Government took action and increased penalties for anyone organising such action. We have not seen a repeat.

But we need to take the same sort of action for all of these types of activists not just because they put safety at risk, but because they undermine our democracy.

These activists want to shut down our major industries. It is a free country. They are free to have that view. They are free to peacefully protest to promote their views. There are ways to do that. There is no right, however, to disrupt other people’s lives in pursuit of your own political ends. If you want to change the law, you stand for election. If you lose you do not get to continue your campaign by interrupting the lives of the people who did not vote for you.

It is time to get more serious about applying penalties to people who invade the homes and businesses of others just because they cannot get their way at an election.

Cracking down on the superglue class is not just important because of the direct inconvenience they cause, it is also essential to maintain our democratic form of representative government. We must steadfastly defend the principle, that if you want to change Australian laws, you stand for election, you do not, and cannot, super glue yourself to a road.

Hon Matt Canavan

Senator for QLD

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