Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has blamed court leniency in his home state of Queensland for a climate protest in which people locked themselves to a pink catamaran in Brisbane's CBD.
The former policeman was asked, as an "old copper", how in these days of CCTV the protesters could bring the boat trailer into the heart the city with no one noticing until about 6.30am or 7am.
"The problem here is not the police," Mr Dutton told local radio 4BC.
"It is the fact that the courts just won't impose a sentence on these people."
Mr Dutton said it was becoming a major issue because the demonstrators in this week's rolling climate protests were not protesters but "anarchists".
Mr Dutton said the protesters were regular civil disrupters who were let off by some magistrates with a slap on the wrist or even, in some cases "words of encouragement".
The Home Affairs minister said the protesters did not believe in democracy.
"These people are anarchists and fringe-dwellers and they should face the full force of the law," he said.
Mr Dutton also blamed the Queensland government, saying Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was not doing enough to stop protests.
He reiterated his call for protesters to pay for the cost of the police time spent on dealing with demonstrations.
Queensland police needed to take civil action against the protesters to recover their costs, and have this enforced by the courts, Mr Dutton added.
Australian Associated Press