This site will serve as a means to find all information related to Jenny Leong's advocacy for the right to protest and COVID-safe protests that our office has supported, as well as some community news and campaigns on the issue
[14 October 2020]
Extinction Rebellion protest
XR protested outside NSW Parliament, specifically calling out the NSW Government for being 'in bed with Santos'. We shared a video of the action on Facebook.
[9 October 2020]
Protest for trans rights
Our office team attended the protest opposing One Nation's harmful bill, however, the police intervened before Jenny was able to give her speech on the matter. You can listen to what she would have said if it went ahead, here. One Nation's bill seeks to demonise trans kids and trans people in our community. It is nothing short of bullying by One Nation.
We live-streamed as the event was happening, which you can view here. Jenny states that it was an "outrageous" show of force from police for what was a peaceful protest.
[8 October 2020]
Wrote to Minister Hazzard about COVID-Safe protests
Jenny wrote to Minister Hazzard to follow up from her question in Parliament on 5 August 2020 regarding COVID-Safe guidelines for peaceful protests. Please see the copy of the letter below (click to open the file).
Demonstration outside Newtown Court
Protester Adam Adelpour faced court on charges under COVID-19 rules for attending a protest against university cuts at Sydney University on 16 September. Jenny and our Electorate Office team attended the demonstration on Thursday 8 October, outside Newtown local court. The demonstration called for the charges to be dropped and demanding the right to protest.
We shared the below images on social media highlighting the excessive police presence.
Jenny was interviewed for this article by Patrick Lau. See excerpt below, or full article linked above.
Greens state MP Jenny Leong, a long-time acquaintance of Gibson’s, says that the BLM Domain event involved the most police she’d ever seen. “We’re talking APEC levels of policing. The difference being at the APEC rallies there were 10,000 people on the streets protesting.”
For Leong, concerns about health aren’t the whole story, and she questions whether the police should be able to shut down a rally that’s calling for police accountability. But on a broader issue, Leong thinks democratic access to public space and speech are at risk under the COVID regime.
“It doesn’t look like this pandemic is going anywhere in terms of our ability to get it under control, and we need to recognise that we need to find COVID-safe ways to enable people to engage in peaceful protest.”
Leong says that people’s ability to freely participate in our democracy is more important than sport, or people being able to go to a Westfield shopping centre. “You want to see more democracy, not less, in the middle of this crisis,” she adds. “There are so many people in positions of power in our parliaments that would prefer to not have the doors open, and would prefer not to have the scrutiny, and that’s dangerous to our democracy.”
Sydney University protests
We are totally appalled by the actions of NSW Police in their response to a number of small rallies held on Sydney University campus. Our office has raised concerns with the Police and the Vice Chancellor of USYD and the Vice Chancellor has advised that he has contacted the police to raise concerns about their actions. It’s clear that not only is the reaction of the police completely unacceptable but that we are in urgent need of COVID-Safe guidelines for peaceful protests. We have called on the Minister for Health to develop these guidelines so people can legally and safely protest without fear of the police response demonstrated at USYD. You can read more and sign our petition on this issue here.
Democracy is Essential - Open Statement
Jenny Leong MP and her NSW Greens colleagues, Jamie Parker MP, Member for Balmain, Tamara Smith MP, Member for Ballina, Abigail Boyd MLC, Cate Faehrman MLC and David Shoebridge MLC signed this open statement from Democracy is Essential.
[24 September 2020]
Climate Strike Newtown
We joined one of the 500+ COVID-Safe climate actions happening across the country for School Strike 4 Climate.
Facebook post here.
[17 September 2020]
View another snippet of Jenny speaking on this issue in Parliament on our Facebook page here.
Rent Relief Rally
Our office was glad to be able to support the NSW: Rent Relief NOW! and the Housing Defence Coalition rally on Tuesday this week outside the NSW parliament. See Facebook post here.
[5 August 2020]
Question in Parliament about Covid-19 and public protests:
"I direct my question to the Minister for Health and Medical Research. Given the need to adjust to the new reality of living with COVID restrictions to keep our community safe and that NSW Health has helpfully provided templates to businesses to develop COVID safety plans by industry, will the Minister work with NSW Health to develop a specific COVID safety plan for peaceful protests, acknowledging their importance to our democracy and the need to avoid unnecessary uncertainty and division at this time?"
[29 July 2020]
Statement in Parliament about the Black Lives Matter protest.
"Yesterday I was in The Domain for the "I can't breathe" Black Lives Matter protest calling for justice for David Dungay Jr because I know that systemic racism—just like COVID-19—can infect our community and cause significant harm. I also know both are lethal. Like many, I have had enough of this so-called justice system assisting police to undermine the right to peaceful assembly and safe protest in our community. We are living in a new reality with this pandemic, with no clear end in sight.
To maintain a healthy democracy, in which citizens exercise their right to peaceful assembly and protest, we must find COVID‑safe ways for people to engage with community protests and activities just as the Government facilitates corporate entities, corporations, commercial entities and this Parliament to continue to function in a COVID-safe way. It is concerning how people have attempted to distract from yesterday's rally by focusing on a false dichotomy. I want to put on record a statement by a Dungay family member outlining the reasons for yesterday's protest. I quote:
The reason we are protesting is because after five years not a single person has been held accountable for the death of my uncle.
SafeWork NSW and the DPP won't even investigate whether charges should be laid. How would you feel if these Government officials wouldn't even lift a finger to investigate whether there should be charges following David's death?
Remember that the Coroner said there was no reason for anyone to go into David Jr's cell that day and assault him.
The police say they want to shut us down because they are concerned about people's lives but they don't care about black lives. Are we not human too?
Under the protocol for investigation and cooperation between agencies following a serious workplace incident, the Police Commissioner could work with the DPP and SafeWork NSW to investigate my uncle's death and they could investigate whether charges could be laid but they are refusing to do that.
The Commissioner isn't interested in investigating my uncle's death. All he wants to do is shut me up and silence black voices to stop us complaining about the way that we are treated.
In this statement, the family urged the Premier to commit to asking SafeWork NSW and the Director of Public Prosecutions [DPP] to investigate whether charges could be laid, adding they were sure they could put off the protest in the interest of community safety if the Premier took that one small action. It is incredibly disappointing to see that no leadership was provided and no action was taken. For all of those—including those in my electorate of Newtown—who say this is not the right time, you are absolutely correct.
The right time for mass mobilisation and outrage over David Dungay Jr's death was in the days and weeks after 29 December 2015 when he was found dead in his cell in Long Bay jail. Why did you not do it then? Why no action then? It is a totally flawed argument to say that it is not reasonable or rational to do it during a pandemic and try to tell this family, these Aboriginal leaders and this activist community that now is not the right time because they know it is not the right time. The right time was back in 2015 when there was no outrage about his death. In the context of the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, people have been quoting Martin Luther King. It is important to put this quote on the record today:
First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council‑er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically feels that he can set the time-table for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season."
I urge this Parliament to do all it can to address systemic racism in our community and make sure that we focus on the need to both have COVID-safe measures and enable people to protest significant issues in our community."
[28 July 2020]
Black Lives Matter protest in The Domain