NSW Labor maintained its support for harsh NSW anti-protest laws at its state conference last weekend, disappointing a broad coalition of civil liberties and environmental groups.
A motion by the Australian Services Union to scrap the laws was defeated by a majority of conference delegates. If it had passed, Labor would have taken a policy to repeal the laws to the state election in March 2023.
The debate highlighted divisions within NSW Labor. Groups inside the NSW Labor Party including several local branches and unions supported a campaign to win support for the motion. But in a counter move, Deputy Leader Prue Car successfully moved an amendment that defeated the purpose of the motion and fed into propaganda that the laws are directed to violent protest and do not impact on peaceful direct action.
Following the defeat of the ASU motion, NSW Council for Civil Liberties President, Josh Pallas issued a media release which stated, “While the law was introduced by the government, it passed with Labor’s support. The ASU’s motion put to the conference gave Labor an opportunity to restore confidence in its support for the right to protest. But they failed in this important test.”
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