Government and Opposition stand condemned over anti-protest Bill: SA-BEST

31 May 2023

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.”

Proposed off-shore wind farm in State’s South East will decimate region’s $100 million a year lobster industry and threaten hundreds of jobs: SA-BEST
21 August 2023
A proposed giant off-shore wind farm to be built off the coast of Port MacDonnell in South Australia’s South East has the potential to wipe...
Read More
SA-BEST seeks Parliamentary inquiry into gambling crisis gripping SA
28 June 2023
The economic and social impacts of the gambling crisis gripping South Australia need to be examined by a Parliamentary inquiry, SA-BEST believes.
Read More
Successive state governments failing our young people in care: SA-BEST
19 June 2023
Successive state governments are failing South Australian children in care with many still slipping between the cracks, SA-BEST warned today.
Read More
“Generational” budget applauded by SA-BEST – but more pain ahead!
16 June 2023
SA-BEST today labelled the State Budget “generational” for the thousands of first-home owners who will be eligible to have their stamp duty abolished allowing them...
Read More