David Littleproud demands climate activists 'show respect', amid calls for tougher penalties

Cabinet minister David Littleproud has urged disruptive climate change activists to show more respect amid calls for harsher penalties.

Senior Nationals minister David Littleproud has backed calling out protesters who disrupt traffic after a colleague floated a crackdown on disruptive climate change activists.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton previously suggested protesters who disrupted traffic during a series of demonstrations in Brisbane should have welfare cut and be publicly shamed.

David Littleproud says climate change activists need to show more respect amid calls for harsher penalties.
Source: AAP

Mr Littleproud said the government wouldn't have to threaten harsher penalties if state governments came down heavily on people lacking respect.

"We wouldn't have to do the heavy lifting if the states got in there and imposed higher penalties for these activists so that the magistrates had nowhere to go but to slip into them," he told the ABC's Insiders on Sunday morning.

"Everyone wants a cause these days. They become angry and they impose their will on the Australian people.

"What this should be is about respect. When they don't, we've got to call them out."

Protesters with placards participate in The Global Strike 4 Climate rally in Sydney.
Source: AAP

The former agriculture minister said the Morrison government had acted on people inciting farm invasions.

"They were trespassing on their property, and the states weren't doing anything," Mr Littleproud said.

"Everyone's got to be angry these days but for Christ's sakes, just respect your fellow Australian."

Last week, Mr Dutton found himself under fire for calling for tougher penalties. 

"There needs to be mandatory or minimum sentences imposed," Mr Dutton told 2GB.

Protesters are seen lying down on Swanston Street during a 'Climate Rally' in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike in Melbourne.
Source: AAP

"A community expectation is that these people are heavily fined or jailed."

He was quickly accused of talking like a "dictator" by the Greens.

“Peter Dutton doesn’t know what living in a democracy means,”  Greens leader Richard Di Natale said.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has called for tougher penalties.
Source: AAP

“One of the most fundamental rights in any democracy is the right to speak up and to protest against those in power … It’s starting to sound more like a dictator than he is an elected politician. Because somebody says something that he doesn’t like, that he doesn’t support, he’s saying we’re going to strip away income support.”

Using mandatory sentencing to crack down on protesters would be extreme and populist, Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said.

"Mandatory sentencing, more often than not, straight-jackets the courts," Mr Potts said.

Published 6 October 2019 at 11:52am, updated 6 October 2019 at 12:20pm
By SBS News