The federal Liberal Party has declared war on environmental protesters in preparation for the next election.
The Liberal Party federal council unanimously passed a motion at a meeting in Melbourne yesterday that means protesters who target businesses and workplaces would be more likely to go to jail under a federal Coalition government.
The move comes after a string of protests in Tasmania this year from environmental groups Code Green, Still Wild Still Threatened, and Markets for Change relating to the Tasmanian Intergovernmental Forestry Agreement.
The groups have particularly targeted the work sites of timber company Ta Ann and the state's last woodchipping export facility, Artec.
Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck's motion was seconded by Bass Liberal candidate Andrew Nikolic.
It called on the federal council to ''encourage the Coalition, when in government, to strengthen the law and increase the penalties for wilful economic sabotage of law-abiding businesses''.
Mr Nikolic said the motion was designed to crack down on environmental activists who repeatedly engage in illegal protest.
He said the Northern Tasmanian community, and its mining and forestry industries, were suffering.
''The people I talk to are concerned about how misplaced activism inflicts real damage on people's lives,'' Mr Nikolic said.
''They show real frustration of what many consider is a sub-optimal response by our legal system to that damage where repetitive acts of sabotage are not deterred effectively by our courts.
''The law must be strengthened to reinforce this point and provide families and communities the protection they deserve.
''There should be greater penalties from the courts to deter those people who repetitively invade workplaces.
''People who do engage in protest should do so peacefully and within the law, and when they repetitively break the law, the penalties need to reflect that to act as a greater deterrence.''
Mr Nikolic cited a message that appeared on a social networking website where a Tasmanian environmental group leader congratulated activists on ``a job well done'' for contributing to a substantial profit drop for retailer, Harvey Norman.
''This is a result that puts thousands of jobs at risk around the country,'' he said.