Government and Opposition stand condemned over anti-protest Bill: SA-BEST
The increasingly arrogant Labor Government and feeble Liberal Opposition stand condemned for their unanimous support for new anti-protest laws rushed through Parliament overnight, SA-BEST said today.
SA-BEST MLCs Connie Bonaros and Frank Pangallo – along with the Greens – pushed to have the new laws sent to a Parliamentary Committee for proper review, but this was not supported by the government or the Opposition.
SA-BEST had a small victory getting a number of important amendments passed, including having the word “recklessly” removed from the legislation, something legal experts warned would have had a range of unintended consequences if not changed.
Connie described the legislation as “offensive and hideous” and said the new legislation amounted to “bad law”.
“MPs from both the major parties need to hold their heads in shame,” Connie said.
“Once again, these political archrivals have become convenient bedfellows to pass appallingly bad laws without any public consultation,” she said.
“But don’t just take SA-BEST’s word. Legal and academic experts have warned of the dangers of these new laws.
“Unions – on which the Labor Government relies for support and funding – have warned about the dangers of this Bill.
“Human rights campaigners have warned about the dangers of the Bill.
“Yet the increasingly arrogant Malinauskas Government – backed by the listless Opposition – saw fit to unanimously pass the laws in 22 minutes.
“It’s a disgrace. This bill in its entirety is still an indictment on our democratic processes.
“Labor voters should be horrified tonight that their Premier has silenced these MPs into submission.
“How the Premier, after the changes to the Return to Work laws earlier this year, can go out again… and have a second crack at the same rank and file members that saw him placed in position as leader of this state absolutely beggars belief.
“The fact the rest of his MPs, the rest of his backbench, frontbench… can sit their quietly and say nothing about what their Premier is doing, is a disgrace.
“It is extraordinary the Premier considers it appropriate to do what he did without the blessing of his entire party.”
Frank – who spoke on the Bill for more than five hours overnight – said he was ashamed to call himself a politician after the laws were passed.
“It pains me to say this, but I am ashamed to be an elected member for the people of South Australia following the passing of these draconian new laws,” Frank said.
“They are a fundamental attack on one of our democratic pillars - our basic right to freedom of expression and the freedom to do it and be heard on our streets, in our community, in public places,” he said.
“The penalties the government and the Opposition have passed are still a woeful overreach.
“The Bill strikes at the very heart of what our Westminster system is all about and the very thing people around the world have protested and demonstrated for for centuries to protect – a democracy.
“The new laws are nothing but a turd sandwich, and that is a very sad day for all South Australians.”