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Managing Protest Activity

Overarching Obligations

The Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 imposes overarching obligations.
The dominant purpose and value for money tests and specified conditions must be met. See s25, 26, 27, 28.

The Department of Finance and the Department of Home Affairs have prepared advice to assist you to manage protest activities at your office.

Plan ahead

  • Make sure everyone in your office is familiar with this advice and knows what to do if there is protest activity at your office.
  • Consult with your staff to develop an action plan and contact lists suitable for your circumstances.
  • Ensure everyone in the office is aware of who occupies the Emergency Officer and Deputy Emergency Officer roles.
  • Ensure everyone in the office is familiar with the emergency evacuation plan and the location of duress alarms.
  • Ensure everyone in the office is familiar with the location of the local Police station and where possible establish a working relationship
  • Consult with your local Police and Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (M&PS) State and Territory Manager if you suspect protest activity at your office is being planned.

During a demonstration

If Police are not already aware of the activity, notify:

  • Your local Police.
    If urgent Police attendance is required call Triple Zero (000) and use your duress alarm.
  • The Australian Federal Police Protection Liaison Duty Officer.
  • Your M&PS State and Territory Manager, who will liaise with Home Affairs and building management, if required.

Ensure that you and your staff:

  • Assess the situation. If you decide to prevent people from entering the office, you should lock the front door early and not open it until it is safe to do so.
  • Remain within the secure part of the office and do not let unauthorised persons enter that area.
  • Do not do anything that could agitate demonstrators or make the situation worse.
  • Advise expected visitors and any staff who are out of the office not to approach the office until it is safe to do so.

If protestors ask you or your staff to accept an item

It is not recommended that letters, petitions or other physical items be accepted in person. Staff should arrange for these items to be delivered electronically to the office at a later date.

If a member of the public behaves in an unacceptable manner

If the AFP or your local Police are present, consult with the officers on the ground.

If Police are not present when a member of the public behaves in an unacceptable manner and you consider it necessary for the person to leave the premises, you should take the following steps:

  • Try to communicate clearly and calmly with the person, from the secure area of the office if possible.
  • Initially seek the person's cooperation, by asking them to cease the behaviour.
  • Warn the person that he or she could be required to leave the premises immediately if the behaviour continues.
  • If the behaviour continues, advise the person that due to the behaviour, you are withdrawing permission for him or her to be on the premises. Tell the person to leave. Warn the person that the Police will be called if they remain on the premises.
  • Monitor the person's movements, and if it is safe to do so, accompany them, until they have left the premises. Do not attempt to physically remove any person from the premises.
  • If the person refuses to leave, or if you or any staff member feels unsafe or threatened in any way, you should activate a duress alarm immediately. If safe to do so, lock or shut-down your IT equipment, remove yourself to a safe location within the office and call 000. A call to 000 is useful so that attending Police are aware of the situation that they are walking into, and to ensure that they are aware of the situation in case the duress alarm did not register.

After a demonstration

If there is any damage to the office or surrounding areas, do not disturb or clean up the site until the AFP or local Police have attended and released the site.

Email photos of any damage to your M&PS State or Territory Manager.

Report:

Following the event, it is important to discuss what happened with your staff and your M&PS State or Territory Manager, to assist with safe management of future incidents.

Individual EAP counselling is available for all MOP(S) Act employees and their immediate family members. M&PS can arrange for a counsellor to attend your office to talk with staff as a group.

Should you require any further information, or wish to discuss any aspect of security at your office please contact your M&PS State or Territory Manager.

Last updated: 14 October 2019