10 September 2020
The right to protest is fundamental to a healthy democracy, but the pandemic has created risks and public health orders limit public gatherings to 20 people. A number of community groups and constituents have contacted me concerned that this prevents public protest in contrast to other activities that could pose greater risks than a well-managed outdoor protest. For example up to 300 people can attend the casino and pubs.
While I support the government’s cautious approach to prevent harm, I have asked the minister to consider health orders to allow outdoor public protests with conditions to maintain safety such as mandatory mask wearing, social distancing, safety marshals and registration of those attending. The need to publicly voice collective dissent or opinion through protest has not disappeared and we should aim to balance this with safety – as is being done with the economy. My letter: HERE.