People will face more time in jail for peaceful protest than for grievous bodily harm if the government's Right to Farm Bill becomes law.
The bill provides for three-year prison terms for protesters while the penalty for permanently or seriously disfiguring another person is a maximum of two years.
Is this really the sort of society the coalition government wants us to become?
Under this proposal people as diverse as Wallaby great David Pocock and the knitting nannas could go to jail for making their point peacefully and democratically.
The government claims these dangerous laws are needed to protect farmers from trespassers, but the law already has those safeguards.
The irony is that farmers may have the most to lose.
Farmers have led campaigns to save the Pilliga and the Bentley region from coal seam gas and the Hunter, Bylong Valley, Gloucester Valley and the Liverpool Plains from coal.
The right to peaceful protest is a cornerstone of our democracy and must not be thrown away for political expediency.
History tells us that when governments erode the civil liberties of any group, they erode them for us all. This bill must be amended or rejected.
NSW Nature Conservation Council