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"Selfish, apocalyptic": PM plans to "outlaw" activist protests

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Scott Morrison has signalled a crackdown on “selfish, indulgent and apocalyptic” environmental activists.

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In a speech to the Queensland Resources Council on Friday, the prime minister will urge companies to ignore rowdy protesters.

Instead, Morrison wants businesses to listen to “quiet shareholders”.

After a week of anti-coal demonstrations in Melbourne that were marred by violence, the prime minister will warn activists are “testing the limits” of their right to protest.

“Let me assure you this is not something my government intends to allow to go unchecked,” Morrison will say.

“Together with the attorney-general, we are working to identify mechanisms that can successfully outlaw these indulgent and selfish practices that threaten the livelihoods of fellow Australians.”

It comes as Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton calls for activists to cover the costs of police responses to protests.

Dutton, who has previously called for protesters to be publicly shamed and stripped of their welfare payments, called on the states to act after a week of anti-mining demonstrations in Melbourne.

“We don’t have 150 police just sitting around in Melbourne or Brisbane or Sydney waiting to respond to these people who spontaneously pull these stunts together,” he told the Nine Network on Friday.

“These police are being diverted away from other activities and there should be a price to pay for that.”

The prime minister is set to announce a plan to crack down on “indulgent, selfish and apocalyptic” environmental activists.

Dutton, a former Queensland cop, has backed Morrison’s plan to crack down on protesters.

“For many of them they don’t even believe in democracy,” he said.

“This is not about free speech, it’s not about the ability to protest. These people are completely against our way of life.

“These people can protest peacefully, as many people do, but the disruption that they seek to cause, the disharmony that they seek to sow within our society is unacceptable.”

Dutton also took aim at magistrates courts for being too lenient on law-breaking activists.

“If you’re going to the courts eight times and getting a slap on the wrist, why wouldn’t you do it a ninth time?”

-AAP

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