nswccl says peta must be free to protest without threat of trade practices action

Thursday, 2 December 2004 NSWCCL media release: 12/2004


The Trade Practices Act is being used by Australian Wool Innovation to try and prevent a boycott of Australian Wool, organised by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals inc (PETA), according to the NSW Council of Civil Liberties. 

The PETA boycott was launched in response to growing concerns over cruelty to sheep by Australian woolgrowers. 

Australian Wool Innovation Limited commenced proceedings against PETA under the secondary boycott provisions of the Trade Practices Act. The first directions hearing is listed for 3 December in Federal Court of Australia in Sydney. 

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties has announced that it will assist the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Inc in their legal proceedings against Australian Wool Innovation Limited.

Cameron Murphy, President of the NSW Council of Civil Liberties said: 

“This is clearly legitimate political protest action, whether you agree or disagree with their cause.” 

“It really is an outrage that the Trade Practices Act is being misused in this manner. This is clearly not what the secondary boycott provisions were designed for.” 

“Animal welfare groups, or any other interested party must be able to organise a political boycott without fear of court intervention. That is what democracy is all about.” 

“Misusing the Trade Practices Act to prevent free speech represents a violation of fundamental civil liberties and democratic principles.” 

“The Trade Practices Act is designed to prevent physical boycotts that are initiated by businesses to destroy competitors in the market, not campaigns conducted for legitimate political discourse”.

For more information contact: 
Cameron Murphy, NSWCCL President, 0411 769 769