By Uma Patel
Pro-refugee protesters who brought Parliament to a halt yesterday should be punished, a Federal Cabinet Minister says.
Dozens of protesters stopped Question Time by yelling pro-refugee slogans from the galleries overlooking the chamber and superglueing themselves to the building’s railings.
Police have not yet laid charges but Speaker Tony Smith has promised a full investigation.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan says the protesters should be punished by more than a “slap on the wrist”.
“I do think the law should be upheld here, everyone has a right to protest in this country but if you break the law, you should pay the price,” he said.
Crossbench Senator Derryn Hinch also said there should be consequences.
“I would’ve thought there’d be some law saying these are the houses of Parliament and if you disrupt the house of Parliament there’s a Guy Fawkes clause, you’re going to have to pay for, and be severely fined or whatever,” Senator Hinch said.
Parliament House security changes to be debated
The Senate will also debate changes to Parliamentary security today, which have been in the works for months.
It would mean the vast majority of the lawns covering the building would be cut off from the public.
Crossbench Senator David Leyonhjelm said yesterday’s protests do not show that access to Parliament should be restricted.
He also knocked back suggestions public galleries should be encased in glass.
“There’s a good reason why school children are behind glass, they’re rowdy little horrors.”
“I think a better idea would be just for the Parliament security staff to be alert to the fact that stunts sometimes will occur,” he said.
Senator Hinch agrees and plans to vote against the changes.
“It’ll be like wrapping the Sydney Opera House in barbed wire, I think it’s wrong,” he said.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
© 2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here.