Open letter: Civil Society demands an open review of Anti-Protest Laws

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties has joined forces with 40 other advocacy and civil society organisations to send an open letter to Premier Chris Minns MP, demanding that he respect democratic process and conduct a public inquiry in the draconian NSW Anti-Protest Laws. Sign our Petition calling for an open and transarent reivew of these laws here.

To Premier Chris Minns, Attorney General Michael Daley and the Hon. John Graham:

We the undersigned call on you to address the vital issue of protecting the right to protest in our state. The right to protest is a fundamental democratic right that allows us to express our views, shape our societies, and press for social change. In NSW and nationally across Australia, it is under attack.

Two years on from the introduction of the draconian 2022 anti-protest laws, these laws are creating a chilling effect on civil movements and social progress. The barriers for a diverse range of groups to participate in protest action have been raised to an unattainable height due to risk of police interaction and escalated police violence, especially for groups such as First Nations people and individuals on temporary visas.

The review of these laws is scheduled to take place after 1 April 2024 and will be carried out by the Department of Roads and the Attorney-General’s Department. We call for the repeal of these anti-democratic laws - barring repeal, we call on you to ensure that this review will seek public submissions and be undertaken in a clear and transparent manner.

It is essential that members of the community, civil society organisations, legal experts, protesters and protest movements and other stakeholders are given the opportunity to publicly explain the grassroots impacts of these laws. We call on the government to commit to introducing a community consultation component into the statutory review of the 2022 amendments.

We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you regarding the conduct of the legislative review and the opportunity for community consultation on the issue.


Australian Democracy Network Amnesty International Australia  Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
NSW Council for Civil Liberties Human Rights Law Centre Socialist Alliance
Community Legal Centres NSW Inner City Legal Centre City of Sydney for Palestine
Animal Liberation NSW National Justice Project Water for Rivers
Redfern Legal Centre Australia Palestine Advocacy Network Tomorrow Movement
Public Interest Advocacy Centre NSW Young Labor Left Muslim Women Australia
Sydney Knitting Nannas Australia National Imams Council Pride In Protest
Pittwater Knitting Nannas Tzedek Collective Trade Unionists for Palestine
Wage Peace Legal Observers NSW NSW Teachers Federation
Jews Against the Occupation ‘48 Human Rights Act for NSW Jewish Council of Australia
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW Australian Services Union NSW ACT Services Branch Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney Branch
Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union NSW Branch United Workers Union  Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union NSW Branch
Electrical Trades Union Finance Sector Union Hunter Workers
Construction & General Division of CFMEU NSW NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association Tamara Smith, Member for Ballina
Abigail Boyd MLC Amanda Cohn MLC Cate Faehrmann MLC
Sue Higginson MLC Jenny Leong, Member for Newtown Kobi Shetty, Member for Balmain



In April 2022, the NSW Parliament passed legislation to prevent ‘illegal protesting’ on major roads, bridges, tunnels, public transport and infrastructure facilities. The new legislation amends section 144G the Roads Act 1993 which criminalises causing serious disruption by entering, remaining on or trespassing on prescribed major bridges and tunnels, to now include all “main roads”. Offences carry a maximum penalty of $22,000 or two years in gaol, or both.

NSWCCL condemns these legislative changes in totality. Protest should not be confined to back roads.  We especially condemn the lack of proportionality of the punishment that can be imposed for offences committed by protesters. 

The review of these laws is scheduled to take place after 1 April 2024 and should consider the views of all stakelholders and community. Join us in the call for an open and transparent review!