Summary Offences Amendment (Move-on Laws) Bill 2015
Written on the 17 March 2015
17 March 2015 - COUNCIL Second reading
CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)
I am pleased to speak in the debate on the Summary Offences Amendment (Move-on Laws) Bill 2015.
In doing so, I remind those in the chamber that when the former Attorney-General brought these laws into the Parliament under the previous government, he gave assurances to the Victorian community that the police would have the powers to move people on. This was important, especially in light of what had recently been witnessed on the Grocon site, the union activity that has been well canvassed this evening. When one talks about the Grocon Emporium site, I think Victorians have a clear vision in their minds of the standover tactics of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) that were displayed there. It was very unedifying. It was unedifying for our state, it was unedifying for our country and it was unedifying for the workers who were lawfully trying to get to their work site. We saw certain individuals undertake activity which was not only unedifying but extremely dangerous.
When I was doing some research on this bill I came across a really interesting article, which was headed 'All the right moves? Police "move-on" powers in Victoria'. The article talks about some of the background to why we introduced the move-on laws in Victoria in the last Parliament. In a paragraph with the heading 'Potential changes to Victorian law' the article says:Both the Victorian Labor government and its Liberal opposition have advocated the introduction of 'move-on' legislation.
Tim Holding, then Minister for Police and Emergency Services, convened a task force to advise the government on key issues in the management of entertainment precincts, and to propose measures to safeguard amenity and community safety. The Inner City Entertainment Precincts (ICEP) Taskforce included state and local government, and statutory and regulatory authorities. A key recommendation made by ICEP was that the government investigate legislation to:
enable police to give a direction to a person in a public place if the police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person's behaviour or presence in the place is causing or likely to cause fear to another person or persons.
The then opposition leader, Robert Doyle, announced that he was intending to introduce move-on laws where police can direct people out of an area and can even arrest, and that was really the start of the development of the policy on our part. But it is interesting that the state Labor Party and then Labor government were also looking at this issue very closely.Labor is pretty good at paying back those who support it. Indeed the CFMEU is one of the very strong unions that have demonstrated significant support for the Labor Party. Numerous articles have been written in recent weeks in relation to this issue, which talk about payback, the effect of the repeal of the move-on laws and how it will reward union activity and some of the unedifying standover tactics by various union members.
The government keeps describing the laws as 'draconian move-on laws', but when the then Attorney-General introducing the bill in Parliament he said that it was expanding the grounds on which police members and protective services officers may direct a person to move on from a public place, and enabling police members to apply to the Magistrates Court for an exclusion order where they have repeatedly been directed to move on from a public place. The bill also amended the Sentencing Act 1991 by creating a new alcohol exclusion order that prohibits a person who has been convicted of a relevant offence from entering or consuming liquor in specified licensed premises in Victoria.I think we all agree that peaceful protests occur on a regular basis. That is our democratic right. Nobody is denying people the right to exercise freedom of speech. To describe the laws as draconian is a little over the top, to say the least, but it is the way the government seeks to draw attention to this law. As other members have highlighted, in my area of Southern Metropolitan Region, where there is a significant Jewish community, members of that community are very concerned about the repeal of these laws. They have been the subject of the BDS campaign, which was an unfortunate campaign that was run a couple of years ago, where businesses that were lawfully going about their business were subject to a hostile and dangerous campaign. It was completely unnecessary. It was seen as a slight on the rights of law-abiding businesses to conduct their business in the manner in which they were doing so. We are talking about a coffee shop, for goodness sake! What is wrong with that business undertaking
Mr Ondarchie interjected.
Ms CROZIER: As Mr Ondarchie says, their small business undertaking their activities and allowing people to freely go into that coffee shop. Instead we saw a dreadful display of an unintelligent debate, an unintelligent protest and an unintelligent and ill-informed campaign by the BDS movement. I think the Jewish community has every right to be concerned about the repeal of these laws, because potentially that situation could arise again and again and the police and the PSOs will not have the powers to move people on as they did during that time.
Some of you may recall that in the Parliament we had protesters who refused to move. The PSOs could not remove the protesters, the police could not remove the protesters and so special forcesMr Ondarchie Tactical response.
Ms CROZIER: So tactical response came in. I thank Mr Ondarchie. We could not go about the work we are doing tonight, debating the issues. They disrupted our place of work, and that is the point of having these laws protesters who refuse to move on and who are strident in their views, disrupting a lawful place of work. It is something that the opposition believes in strongly. We had the support of significant groups within the community for these laws, as has been highlighted by the examples given in this debate. Should this bill be passed tonight I fear that we will see more of that activity on the streets, and that will be bad for business. We have enough challenges ahead of us, with the ripping up of contracts and the government saying one thing before the election and doing another thing after. The community is fast losing confidence in this government if it had any at all.Mr Herbert interjected.
Ms CROZIER: We will see, Mr Herbert through the Chair, Deputy President. The confidence in this state is significantly declining. Businesses are questioning what this government stands for and are concerned about who is running the state. They are concerned that the unions are in control and that Daniel Andrews is simply a puppet of the union movement. Repealing these laws is just another step in ensuring more power for the unions, and that is something that this state definitely does not need.
Please sign up to receive Georgie's e-newsletter