Scott Morrison wants to outlaw boycott campaigns. But the mining industry doesn’t need protection

5 Nov 2019

For The Conversation: Professor Graeme Orr breaks down Scott Morrison's vow to outlaw boycott campaigns helmed by activists - and explains why the mining industry doesn't need protection. 

This is an image of climate change activists at a protestOn Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison vowed to craft new laws targeting social and political protest. Speaking to the Queensland Resources Council, he labelled some activist groups as environmental “anarchists”, and lamented how businesses like banks might be sensitive to consumer or protest group pressure to limit dealings with the mining industry.

These laws could ban activists from advocating for certain boycotts against companies. Morrison lambasted progressives, saying they:

want to tell you where to live, what job you can have, what you can say and what you can think – and tax you more for the privilege of all of those instructions.

Boycott laws already exist

The first thing to note is there is no proposal on the table. Morrison merely warned his government was:

working to identify mechanisms that can successfully outlaw these indulgent and selfish practices.