Protect Our Right To Protest


Together, we are powerful!

By signing this, you will also hear from us about our Democracy campaigns from time to time.

Add your name to our open letter!

The Greens (WA) Climate Crisis Working Group has devised an open letter on Safeguarding our Right to Protest that we hope will provide an opportunity to Greens and anyone concerned about the increasing authoritarianism of the WA Government to voice their concern.


In recent months, peaceful protest actions undertaken by protesters against the expansion of WA’s gas industry have led to charges against protesters under the Criminal Code (s444, s338c) involving disproportionate and unreasonable penalties, including imprisonment to a maximum of 14 years. Citizen protest against the expansion of the fossil fuel industry is both reasonable and necessary since expansion of this industry has endangered Australia and the world by increasing the likelihood of catastrophic and irreversible climate change. Risk connected with new or expanded greenhouse gas emissions has led the International Energy Agency (IEA), the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the global community of climate scientists to call for an end to new fossil fuel development as fossil fuels are the key driver of the Climate Crisis. Right minded citizens have an obligation to peacefully contest expansion of the fossil fuel industry in WA in the absence of Government policy that recognizes that expansion of the gas industry as ecocide.

The signatories to this letter express their concern that:

  • The use of criminal laws involving unreasonable and disproportionate penalties against peaceful protesters undermines the principle in a liberal democracy that citizens have an exercisable right to non-violent protest.
  • The real motivation in wrongly applying criminal law in this way is to stifle civil dissent over the actions of the fossil fuel industry in growing the climate crisis.
  • Use of the criminal code against peaceful protesters is authoritarian and if it continues will undermine the democratic character and legitimacy of the WA Government over time.

The signatories to this letter call upon the WA Government to respect the right of citizens to protest in a democracy and urge it to refrain from:

  • The criminalisation of the democratic right to protest.
  • The charging of protestors with offences that are disproportionate in terms of penalties to the severity and disruption of actions taken by offenders.
  • The harassment of protesters with disproportionate unreasonable force and intrusion into their homes.
  • The seizure of computers, equipment and other private property and other acts of intimidation.
  • The misrepresentation of peaceful protest as criminal activity.

If the WA Government is to responsibly acknowledge and address the Climate Crisis it needs to listen to the community, afford reasonable democratic rights to those protesting the further expansion of greenhouse gas emissions, and not resort to authoritarian practices inconsistent with democratic government.