Victoria’s Parliament is poised, without much fanfare or scrutiny, to pass a bill that would drastically increase police powers and severely curtail our basic human rights.
I’m talking about the Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013. Haven’t heard of it? The bill was introduced last year during the Christmas rush and represents a significant expansion of the “move on” powers, which currently allow police officers to give a direction to a person or group to leave a public place for 24 hours. At present, there is a protest exception to these provisions, meaning they do not apply to pickets, demonstrations or speaking and publicising a point of view.