16th March 2016

    Notice of motion.

    Condemnation of the Catholic Church.

    On Wednesday the 16th of March, Mark gave notice of a motion to condemn the Roman Catholic Church in Australia for its abject failure to protect children from sexual abuse. This motion is very dear to Mark’s heart and our core belief that he will be a voice for the vulnerable, this is a duty we take seriously, not just for animals but people also. When we allow the wrong doings to go unabated in our society, we become complicate in them.

    See the full Notice of Motion HERE

    Watch the video below:


    15th March 2016

    Second reading speech.

    Anti protest bill.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [10.31 p.m.]: I oppose the Inclosed Lands, Crimes and Law Enforcement Legislation Amendment (Interference) Bill 2016. It is rather ironic that only last month the Government was giving an apology to the 78ers who were dealt with extremely severely for peacefully protesting. At the age of 19, I was one of those 78ers. Thirty-eight years ago the government of the day gave a directive to police to deal with people who were protesting against extremely draconian laws. We are in a similar situation today. This bill is one of the most draconian pieces of legislation I have seen. It is taking us back to the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era in Queensland.

    People who protested in the streets in 1978 opposed legislation under which they would be locked up purely because of their strong point of view or particular state of being and sexuality. They were treated so appallingly that 38 years later the Government has apologised to them and acknowledged respect for the changes they brought to society. It will not be very long before the same thing happens again if this bill becomes law. In Queensland in the 1970s and 1980s street marches always seemed to begin in King George Square outside Brisbane City Hall. King George Square was the crucible for the city’s social disquiet and ferment, where thousands of protesters once risked the batons of Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s police force over issues as diverse as the Vietnam War, the Springbok rugby tour, Aboriginal issues, nuclear disarmament and the right to protest.

    Following Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser’s decision in 1977 to expand uranium mining an anti-uranium protest group was formed. In turn, Premier Bjelke-Petersen outlawed street marches, sparking a number of confrontations in the city. However, the right to march quickly became the main issue for both the marchers and the police. On 4 September 1977 Bjelke-Petersen announced, “Protest groups need not bother applying for permits to stage marches because they won’t be granted … that’s government policy now”. They were not even able to appeal to a magistrate.

    This bill strikes the same chord of oppression of people’s free will and capacity to speak up and oppose instruments of harm. In 1987 the Fitzgerald inquiry was held in Queensland. There is likely to be an inquiry one day into the consequences of this bill. During the Fitzgerald inquiry Terry O’Gorman, representing the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, took up the issue of the anti-march laws. The inquiry report noted that the right of public assembly had traditionally been analogous to the right of free speech, and a touchstone of the respect given to civil liberties within society. I will outline how this bill will impact upon the conduct of other businesses including those that use animals, which is central to my election to this Parliament. People protest coal seam gas operations and other mining activities for the same reason that they oppose other businesses—that is, they harm the environment, the people living in the area and the air and water. The animal rights movement also opposes businesses that harm animals.

    It is true that activists have been known to go into intensive livestock industry operations or abattoirs and “lock on” when all other avenues to try to bring change for the animals have been exhausted. It is not as though that protesting is flippant or reckless conduct. When all other avenues are pursued to finality and harm of whatever nature has not been stopped people are compelled out of utter frustration to risk their personal liberties. That has been an instrument of protest for hundreds of years. Protests for the rights of women, children, workers and slaves have been referred to in this debate. We cannot strike out the fundamental principle of people’s right to protect beings and the environment from harm. A perfect example is our desire to stop sows being kept in stalls where they cannot turn around but can only step forwards or backwards for almost their entire lives.

    Another example is the protest to prevent hens living their whole lives in cages two-thirds the size of an A4 sheet of paper. In a recent protest against the gas stunning of pigs, activists stopped animals being delivered to gas chambers where it took them up to one minute to die from asphyxiation because of the gassing mechanisms. Those protests are held out of frustration because harm is happening and the people who are trying to help and bring about change have exhausted all other interventions and avenues available to them. The Government is facing one of the most extraordinary historical situations in Australia—namely, activists are standing beside farmers and people working in towns. For those reasons the Animal Justice Party must oppose and condemn this bill.

    Read the full debate here.

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