When Don Dunstan was its Premier in the 1970s, South Australia got a reputation for protecting the rights of individuals against the state in a way that won it plaudits around the nation. But those days are long gone. Today, South Australia is presided over by a couple of crazed law and order junkies, Premier Mike Rann and Attorney-General Michael Atkinson who are about to land South Australians with a law lifted straight from the statute books of any number of authoritarian regimes dotted around the globe.
In fact, the Serious and Organised Crime (Control) Bill, as it is known, is without peer in Australia in terms of the powers it gives to law enforcement agencies and government. Even the Howard/Rudd anti-terror laws contain the occasional check and balance on the executive government.