A group of 20 people have gathered at the office of Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert, protesting against the Labor government’s proposed “dangerous attachment devices” laws.

The laws propose to outlaw “lock-on” devices of the type sometimes used in environmental protests, giving police extra search powers and making the use of the devices an offence punishable by up to two years in prison and the possession of them punishable by one year. The laws have been condemned by environmentalists and civil rights lawyers, and today the group will be each handing Ms Gilbert’s staff a letter recommending she reject the bill.

Spokesperson Andy Paine said “these laws should be thrown out first of all because they are based on a lie – the false claims that the devices are “laced with dangerous traps” intended to injure police officers. This claim is a key part of the rationale for this law but has never been backed up by evidence. Just last week in parliament when police were asked if they had heard of the supposed aerosol cans being hidden in devices, they responded with one anecdote from 2005 and still were unsure of whether it actually occurred.

“Labor party MPs like Julieanne Gilbert should be ashamed that their government has had to resort to false accusations in order to justify their actions. They should also be insulted that the Premier has taken it upon herself to dispense with normal parliamentary procedure, demanding the Legal Affairs Commitee fast-track the bill. To maintain a sense of integrity, those in the Labor Party should reject these laws and insist on proper process being followed.

“Civil disobedience, including the use of lock-on devices, has a long and proud history in this country of enacting social change and protecting our environment. By misrepresenting the actions of those who take non-violent direct action, the government has betrayed this key part of our past, and steered us towards a dangerous future. We are facing a climate emergency that governments have so far proven unable or unwilling to stop. Now they are trying to take away from everyday people a historically proven method of effective political protest. Anyone who cares about our climate and our democratic rights needs to resist this law and continue to stand up for what’s right in spite of government threats.”