Victorian senator says she will risk her seat to protest Indigenous logging

Victoria Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe has said she is willing to risk losing her parliamentary post to continue protesting against indigenous logging.

The state government last week proposed changes to protest laws that would increase the sentence for those found guilty of preventing or disrupting indigenous logging in Victoria to up to a year in jail or up to to a fine of $21,000.

Candidates awaiting conviction for a crime punishable by one year or more in prison are ineligible to enter the Federal Parliament, under Section 44 of the Australian Constitution.

Senator Thorpe is a Djab Wurrung, Gunnai Gunditjmara woman with a history of protesting against logging on her traditional lands, which are mostly in eastern Victoria.

She said she would continue to protest even if the amended laws were passed.

“I will dispute any fines as I have done in the past,” she said.

“We had fishing fines [about] 10 to 15 years ago we challenged them and we won, because we are a sovereign people in our own lands.”

Senator Thorpe said that under existing Crown laws, she does not believe state governments have jurisdiction over traditional lands.

Environmentalists say wood should no longer come from native forests.(Provided)

“No government has jurisdiction to do this because we don’t have a treaty.”

She said the proposed amendments were a political stunt by the government ahead of the Victoria state election in November.

Changes to protect workers

Announcing the proposed changes, Victoria’s Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said the Sustainable Forestry Timber Bill Amendment Bill would modernize enforcement measures to deter logging activities. dangerous protest in safe areas for timber harvesting.

These areas are restricted areas designated for timber harvesting.

Ms Thomas says she respects the right to protest but wants to protect the safety of woodworkers.

“Protests are becoming increasingly dangerous – especially for workers – which is why this legislation will help them continue their work and minimize disruption to industry,” she said.

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Martin E. Berry