Radio personality Ben Fordham has blasted the courts for their apparent ‘leniency’ towards climate change protestors after their wild demonstrations forced Sydney’s streets into chaos this week.
Fordham lashed Blockade Australia, saying the climate activists were playing the legal system and disrupting Sydneysiders trying to get about their daily life.
The comments came as part of an on-air spray Fordham made about the demonstrations, where he disparaged the protesters.
The activists (pictured trying to create a blockade on Tuesday) were advised how to behave and react if they were arrested
The 2GB host said the demonstrators thought they were above the law.
Fordham took aim at Mali Cooper, 22, who caused peak-hour traffic to pile up after she parked her car at the entrance of the harbour tunnel and chained her neck to the steering wheel, stopping thousands of commuters from getting to work on Monday.
‘You can almost set your watch to it,’ Fordham said on Wednesday.
‘After a night in the cells on serious charges… a magistrate has given her bail.
‘She’s facing two years in jail and a fine of $22,000 under the government’s so-called tough new protest laws – but she’s back on the streets.’
Fordham said that protesters like Mali Cooper, 22, (pictured) thought they were ‘above the law’
He said the court’s decision made a mockery of the government’s pledge in March to clamp down on the ‘extreme and selfish activity’ of protesters.
The NSW government pushed through the new regulations to mitigate disruptive protests earlier this year.
One of those included a blockade on the city-bound lanes from the northern beaches, put in place by Fireproof Australia activists in February.
NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said at the time the bill was quickly put through, despite attempts by the Greens and Labor to ‘render the bill ineffective’.
‘The new regulations specify major roads, bridges, tunnels and other major infrastructure facilities,’ Mr Speakman said.
‘Protesters who disrupt these locations will face a fine of up to $22,000 and/or up to two years in jail.’
Roads Minister Natalie Ward made no apologies at the time for ‘vigorously pursuing’ the new legislation.
Despite tougher laws introduced last April, Fordham (pictured with his wife Jodie Speers) said the magistrates are giving the Blockade Australia protesters ‘get-out-of-jail cards’
‘It was essential for the NSW Government to put into place laws to stop this kind of extreme and selfish activity we have seen over the past few weeks by a small group of protesters hell bent on wreaking havoc,’ Ms Ward said in April.
Despite the tougher laws, Fordham said the magistrates were giving the Blockade Australia protesters ‘get-out-of-jail cards’.
‘The Blockheads are laughing at us,’ Fordham said on Wednesday.
Fordham also said the group has been given legal advice to remain silent if arrested and to not admit guilt initially if they were denied bail.
The outspoken host added it was unfair that the driver, who was trying to get through protesters on Monday, was slapped with a negligent driving fine.
The outspoken radio host said if only the courts would deal with activists the same way as they did a driver (pictured on Monday) who was fined $469 for negligent driving and had three demerit points docked, as their car was trying to get through the crowds, almost running over protestors
‘Put yourself in his shoes for a second, he could’ve been on his way to hospital or a job interview, or he may have been terrified by a group of lunatics surrounding his vehicle,’ Fordham said.
‘If only the courts dealt with the protestors as harshly as this driver.’
Blockade Australia put a pause on their scheduled week-long demonstration on Wednesday.
Their day off came after twelve arrests were made as protestors ran through the CBD streets towards Hyde Park on Tuesday, with less crowds turning up to demonstrate.
Activists took a reprieve on Wednesday after twelve arrests were made the day before, with protestors running through CBD streets towards Hyde Park