Victorian unions have reacted with anger and disbelief over reports that the Turnbull Government is considering laws to ban working people from expressing political opinions at polling booths.
The Herald Sun reports that Liberal MPs on razor-thin margins are seeking support for a law to ban union members - such as nurses campaigning for better local hospitals, or teachers campaigning for Gonski – from campaigning against them at the next Federal Election.
Secretary of Victorian Trades Hall Council, Luke Hilakari, said that such a law would face significant pushback from civil society and human rights experts.
“This move shows Mr Turnbull is increasingly concerned with how to maintain power at all costs to Australia and our political traditions”.
“When you start restricting who in our society is allowed to express political opinions, where does it stop?”
“Particularly in the wake of populist movements in Britain and the United States, Australia should be looking at how to involve more people in our political process, how to make sure everyone is engaged in democracy. It is unbelievable that we have a Prime Minister who is actually looking at further restricting democratic participation.”
“If Mr Turnbull wants working people to stop organising massive campaigns to protect our local hospitals, schools and public services from his cuts, then there’s a simpler solution than banning people from polling booths. He needs to just stop listening to the far right of his party, and start listening to what working people want!”
“Good governments have nothing to fear from public participation in democracy. Australia’s democracy is not just for the political elites, it’s for everyone.”
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