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Former bulldozer-blocking MP wants to protect activists

Sue Higginson says she would not be where she is today if she hadn't chained herself to a bulldozer nearly three decades ago.

The NSW Greens MP and former environmental lawyer says participating in protests when she was young helped guide her trajectory and worries today's activists risk severe punishments such as jail time.

"The action I took in the 90s as a young woman absolutely influenced every step of my life," she told AAP on Friday.

"Engaging at the pointy end of the democratic process and exercising my right to have a voice through non-violent and peaceful civil disobedience empowered me to become a lawyer and fight for community justice in the legal system and now to fight for justice in the parliament."

During the early 90s, Ms Higginson spent months protesting at Chaelundi State Forest, now Chaelundi National Park, in northern NSW.

Aged about 21, she blockaded the area with the North East Forest Alliance to challenge the NSW Forestry Commission's attempts to log thousands of hectares of old-growth forest.

After the 1991 protest, the NSW government adopted its first threatened species legislation, the National Party forests minister was demoted and the Liberal premier and environment minister resigned after corruption hearings.

Ms Higginson went on to protest against the NSW government in the lead-up to the 1995 state election when she locked herself to a bulldozer.

"Civil disobedience is always part of a broader movement to enable change and it's something we see when governments are slow to act, or when they aren't listening hard enough to the community," she said.

The forest has been protected under law, but Ms Higginson said she might not have been so daring if she faced the risk of jail as protesters do now.

Last April, climate protester Deanna "Violet" Coco became the first person to be jailed under anti-protest laws after she blocked one lane of traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge for 25 minutes.

University student Cherish Kuehlmann was banned from entering the Sydney CBD as part of police bail conditions over a housing cost protest outside the Reserve Bank this year.

Ms Higginson said this kind of civil disobedience was imperative to a healthy democracy and the government's response was "awful, draconian, harsh and unfair".

The Greens on Friday said they would put forward a bill during the next term of parliament to enshrine the right to protest in law.

It would repeal all anti-protest laws introduced since 2014 and ensure no one who has engaged in non-violent protest or civil disobedience can go to prison.

The Greens will wait for the election on March 25 before they set their sights on potential allies to pass the bill.

"It's hard to know how the pendulum will swing, but we know that Labor and the coalition have taken on anti-protest sentiment so we will have to work with whoever forms government to ensure that we take this step to improve our democracy," Ms Higginson said.