Video of debate facebook All Labor and Liberal members voted down this simple but inspiring and compassionate motion. It was like watching people walk past a person trying to help someone bleeding on the road after a traffic accident, saying that maybe the bleeding had gone on 'long enough' but it wasn't up to them to help.
"My objective, with your help, honourable members, is to make Melbourne, and even Victoria, a great place to live. Not merely a great place in population size or area to rival such places as Shanghai, New York, London or Sao Paulo. Such greatness would be mere obesity, with all the disadvantages of such. Not a city or a state where people are crammed into dogbox apartments, living on crowded and congested streets in an environmentally unfriendly concrete heat island. But a spacious city with open skies, open and tree-filled streets, with gardens. An environment where children can play safely, where the car is not king but a servant.
Walkable patchworks of various styles of housing, where one would enjoy walking, cycling or travelling through by public transport. A city of learning, education, the arts and self-supporting industry, where families and communities can thrive. Where the less fortunate who may be living on lower incomes are not segregated into high-rise towers but live in affordable detached or medium-density housing spread throughout the suburbs. Where their children have the same opportunities as other children. Where ghettos of crime and despair are not created. A city where the environment—the living environment—is prized and of prime importance. A sustainable city or cities in a sustainable state. This can only happen when people are proud of their neighbourhoods and where they, as citizens, have control over what they create—the built form, the environment, the infrastructure. This is what, I believe, we as a Parliament can achieve." (Clifford Hayes, Extract from speech.)
[This speech was paragraphed by candobetter.net editor. It was taken from the unproofed Hansard transcript and will be revised if there are changes.]
Mr HAYES (Southern Metropolitan) (16:54:47): President and honourable members, especially new members, congratulations. I grew up in Brighton, the son of a doctor and a school teacher, so in many people’s eyes I had a life of privilege, but my parents had just bought a house, my father was starting his own medical practice from scratch and I was sent to Gardenvale state school. However, I did not like school, particularly getting the strap in my first few days there for playing in the third graders’ playground.
So when I learned to read, quite well, I told my mum I wanted to leave school. She laughed and told me I had to do another 12 years before I could leave.
I was devastated. By grade 3 my parents were able to send me to Brighton Grammar.
But in grade 4 my father suffered a terrible car accident, which affected him and his earning ability for the rest of his life. Mum worked, which was not that common in the early 1960s, and Dad brought in some money, so we got by okay. My two sisters and I managed to finish at private schools, but my father's situation got worse, and he relied on drinking and heavy medication, which by the end of our schooling left him totally incapacitated.
Being a bit of a rebel and not a great student, I decided on a very different course to the academic life so beloved by my parents. I had become interested in photography and filmmaking, and to my parents’ horror I wanted a career in the film industry. So I left home and went to work.
The Australian film industry was almost non-existent then. I found a job in the nascent television industry with Hector Crawford at Crawford Productions in Collins Street. My first job was on Homicide as a music editor, although I only had the vaguest idea of what that job entailed when I started. Over the next few years Crawfords produced the top three or four highest rating TV dramas in Australia at that time.
I went on to become a freelance film editor, and in 1979 I won an Australian Film Institute award for my part in editing Mad Max.
The PRESIDENT: As tempting as it is, can we hold the applause until the end.
Mr HAYES: However, it was my experience working in the Northern Territory on the feature film We of the Never Never that changed my view on how we treated the first inhabitants of this land, and I came home a firm believer in Aboriginal land rights.
My parents, particularly my father, who was a keen advocate to the few who would listen back then for Indigenous recognition and other social issues, were both academic and left wing in political inclination, which was a pretty unusual stand compared to many of my friends’ parents in Brighton. So I was always interested in politics and comparing and arguing various points of view.
However, it was travelling overseas for six months when I was 24 which opened my eyes on how we lived in Australia. I was trying to find my way around the gridlocked streets of Bangkok, and looking over a bridge I saw swarming below a mass of humanity living in shacks on the side of a city canal, which would be no bigger than the Elwood canal down our way. A couple of hundred people were living down there—working, living and laughing.
I realized that there were many ways to live the life that I thought was normal from my little bubble in suburban Melbourne. I also realized that which so many Australian travellers come to see: we are all so enormously privileged to grow up and live in the open spaces and remaining nature of our suburbs and the surrounding countryside.
I lived in Sydney for a while working as an editor. Here I was in the heart of the film industry and lived the life of a continual after-work party—restaurants, bars, parties, picnics, drinking, eating and all that goes with it. It was the 1980s, and Sydney was a beautiful city and definitely the place to be. Few would disagree that most of the beauty around the harbour has now been spoiled by overdevelopment.
I got married and divorced in fairly quick succession. I bought an old farm house in a small town, Deans Marsh—between Geelong and Lorne—as a weekend retreat, and I became more and more interested in small-scale farming, self-sufficiency, agriculture and alternative lifestyles.
I got married again and we had a daughter followed by a son a couple of years later.
Computerisation had swept through the TV industry, enabling me to work from our farm house but often requiring travel back and forth to Melbourne. I studied for a diploma in applied science, farm management, by correspondence through Melbourne University, with a view to starting a small vineyard, which would certainly supplement my growing wine cellar. That was when devastation struck and my life had to change.
My wife wanted out, citing my lifestyle, the working, the drinking, the parties and generally being away from home too much. I was not much use as a father—and what is more, she was taking the kids. My drinking, smoking and party life had to stop.
I realised my health was being affected and my lifestyle was costing me more than money. I was losing friends, my lucrative business and now what I valued most—my family. I sought help and I found it through an organisation which pointed me to a path of spiritual recovery. As a result I no longer drink or smoke, nor do I take any mind-altering substances except caffeine, and have not done so for many years.
However, I did start that small vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula with a business partner. After a while I managed to reconcile with my family, and though my wife and I did not resume our marriage we became good friends and I had the opportunity to be the father I had always wanted to be to my children.
In 2003 I sold the vineyard and I moved back to Brighton again, buying an older style apartment with a backyard, where I still live today.
While I always had a political interest, my real political activity was about to start in the most unlikely way.
My mother, who still lived in the old family home nearby, told me that a developer had plans to build a 5-storey building of more than 100 apartments right behind her house. The whole street was affected, most of the houses being single storey.
All of our neighbours were up in arms: 'They can’t do this here!’. And the reply from our council: 'Oh yes, they can’.
It was Melbourne 2030, and we had been declared, without our knowledge, to be living in an activity centre.
What is more, the council had plans for more 4 and 5-storey buildings scattered around North Brighton.
Our group of residents decided to run someone against the local councillor. I was the only volunteer, and I ran on the issue, opposing high-rise development.
With huge community support, I was elected by a sizeable majority seeking to maintain our village character. Once elected, I had the full support of council in moving for more restrictive height controls in our village-style shopping centres and surrounding residential streets.
The minister, through his department, would not allow the changes, but after much lobbying he did grant so‑called 'discretionary’ height controls but at heights greater than the council’s decision.
The developers were still not happy and took the council to VCAT, where the VCAT member overruled the council’s refusal, saying discretionary controls gave him the discretion to break them. What is more, he and other members over the years took it upon themselves to give council lectures about our housing policy, developed out of widespread community consultation, for being too restrictive.
VCAT continues to grant permits for building heights far in excess of our meaningless discretionary controls as granted by the state government.
So much for the wishes of the community, or democracy, where elected bodies such as municipal councils can be overridden by a bureaucrat and increasingly by the state government.
This is where I discovered the general attitude of the planning bodies.
Senior planners in the government said to me, 'Councillor, if you don’t want high rise, you must want sprawl’.
I said, 'I don’t want either’, to which they replied, 'Well, where will you put the population?’.
Research showed me how population growth had been ramped up in recent years from a long-term average of 70 000 per annum to 200 000 people per annum. Melbourne is now growing by 2500 people, seeking accommodation, every week.
This fact is used by the government to overpower councils on the issue of planning in particular. Most government planners advocate urban consolidation and the destruction of our valued Australian suburban life. They talk of high-rise schools. Where will the children play?
To achieve this so-called consolidation, governments, planners and developers want to bring in more and more people, not from the outer suburbs but from overseas, to densify the inner city.
Who benefits? The developers and the property industry.
After being elected mayor of Bayside I joined an organisation called Planning Backlash. Led by the awesome Mary Drost, OAM, we represented planning groups with similar issues all across Melbourne and regional Victoria.
This group has led the campaign for greater say for residents and councils and has regularly met with all planning ministers, both Liberal and Labor, up until this minister, who no longer consults with us.
Rapid population growth has been connected with our planning problems.
Around this time I saw Dick Smith’s documentary and found the policies of Sustainable Australia. I came to see that global population growth and the corresponding increased pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, species decline and habitat destruction have made population growth the major environmental problem, both globally and locally.
Yet population growth was not even mentioned by the major political parties, including the Greens.
The Greens advocate lowering consumption, and rightly so, but until they realistically tackle the population issue they cannot address the current rate of environmental destruction and greenhouse gas emissions in this state or in this country.
This issue has nothing to do with race or religion, nor should it. For no matter how much we reduce consumption and the ensuing pollution per person, if we increase the population at the same time, we will make zero or even negative progress.
And we in this country are growing at rates far above the world population growth rate, and our greenhouse gas emissions keep on rising.
A similar charge could be made against the major parties, Labor and Liberal, who cry economic ruin if we reduce population growth by returning to 1980s or 1990s levels of immigration, as our party advocates.
They say the current rapid population growth raises gross domestic product. Yet, as we all know, GDP per head of population growth and wages growth have been stagnant over recent years as we have imported more and more workers.
In 2010 I met William Bourke and joined Sustainable Australia. Their policies on local planning, affordable housing, infrastructure, the environment and a more diverse economy appealed to my frustrated desires, particularly at a local level.
As to planning in this beautiful city and this bountiful state, planning should be a good thing, not like here, with our planning system—deregulated, discretionary and encouraging the atrocious.
Then we, the residents, hopefully with the support of our councils, try to make the proposal less bad. Even this process is under attack, with planning bodies such as the Grattan Institute seeking to remove third-party appeal rights. Even less local democracy is being demanded.
Planning, we believe, should be conceived at the local level, initiated by local planning groups or citizen juries. Planning should then set the agenda, set the social and environmental goals, the population density and height controls. Then developers would have to conform to these established local requirements—a democratic process.
Finally, just before I finish, I would like to thank a few people who helped me take this journey to find my way to this most historic and honourable chamber: William Bourke, our hardworking federal president and an invaluable mentor; Mary Drost, of indomitable spirit, and the committee of Planning Backlash; Richard Rozen and my supporters in Brighton Residents for Urban Protection; Derek, Evelyn, Kerrie, David, Beth, David and John of Restore Residents’ Rights; Jill Quirk, who ran in an election with me; Kelvin Thomson, a former MLA and an early advocate on population growth, who is now my fantastic chief of staff; Noel Pullen, a former MLC, who helped us in the planning battle; Alex Del Porto, James Long, Sonia Castelli and Bayside councillors past and present; my family, especially my two children, Alice and Harry.
My objective, with your help, honourable members, is to make Melbourne, and even Victoria, a great place to live. Not merely a great place in population size or area to rival such places as Shanghai, New York, London or Sao Paulo. Such greatness would be mere obesity, with all the disadvantages of such.
Not a city or a state where people are crammed into dogbox apartments, living on crowded and congested streets in an environmentally unfriendly concrete heat island. But a spacious city with open skies, open and tree-filled streets, with gardens. An environment where children can play safely, where the car is not king but a servant.
Walkable patchworks of various styles of housing, where one would enjoy walking, cycling or travelling through by public transport.
A city of learning, education, the arts and self-supporting industry, where families and communities can thrive. Where the less fortunate who may be living on lower incomes are not segregated into high-rise towers but live in affordable detached or medium-density housing spread throughout the suburbs. Where their children have the same opportunities as other children. Where ghettos of crime and despair are not created. A city where the environment—the living environment—is prized and of prime importance. A sustainable city or cities in a sustainable state. This can only happen when people are proud of their neighbourhoods and where they, as citizens, have control over what they create—the built form, the environment, the infrastructure. This is what, I believe, we as a Parliament can achieve.
The farce of the 'world's most livable city'. Overpopulation drives both sides of parliament to attack each other publicly but privately to support draconian reconstruction of Melbourne, because they have created a situation that makes it inevitable if they don't stop population growth. Nonetheless, this speech by Ms Kanis, the ALP Member for Melbourne, on 4 September 2014, still picks up the Government on the detail of the mammoth assault on democracy and the public purse that is the proposed East West Link. Following on her speech, Liberal Member, Ms Ryall of Mitcham, constructs a half-knitted jumper of motherhood cliches about 'our children's future', before abandoning it to choose attack as the best means of defense, evoking the equally scandalous Desal Plant of the recent Labor Government. The 'world's most livable city' is, of course, a cynical business marketing construction designed to give authority to the forces overseeing the increasingly brutal deconstruction of Victoria's democracy.
Source: Proof Parliament of Victoria Legislative Assembly Daily Hansard, Wednesday, 3 September 2014
Ms KANIS (Melbourne) — The new ABC satire Utopia provides plenty of laughs about poor government planning. [...] Unfortunately, the reality is not terribly funny. The state of Victoria has been writing its own script for an episode of Utopia. It involves an $8 billion road tunnel, more than 100 property owners facing dispossession, hundreds of residents whose homes will be next to a roaring toll road with no compensation and vast swathes of heritage parkland and precious sportsgrounds under threat.
The plot of this episode revolves around a government intent on building the ultimate infrastructure white elephant, against all planning, economic and transport advice. The government spends millions advertising its road, promising that it will reduce congestion, improve public transport, improve pedestrian routes and deliver enormous community benefits. The government then spends millions of dollars defending its project in a 30-day expert committee, and then ignores the majority of recommendations made by planning experts. The government ducks and weaves through FOI cases and is brought before the Supreme Court to defend its unpopular project.
The twist in the plot is that, despite all this, the government refuses to produce evidence of the economic benefits of the project, the east–west link.
The government hides the business case in a box in a courtroom. ‘Trust us’, the government tells the community. I, along with thousands of residents in the electorate of Melbourne, do not trust the coalition government and its secret business case.
This real-life episode of governmental secrecy, spin, misrepresentation and wastage is not at all funny. For hundreds of residents who have been told their homes will be acquired, this episode is heartbreaking.
It should not be the case that residents in my electorate of Melbourne are living with the possibility of a concrete flyover being built within 5 metres of their homes, but this is the scenario facing residents of Bent Street, Kensington. Residents of Parkville and North Melbourne do not know if a tollway exit slated for Flemington Road will emerge on or nearby their properties. Members of the Friends of Royal Park do not know if wetlands, trees and open space will be demolished. Sports clubs have been left without playing fields while the coalition charges ahead with its wasteful east–west link. Nothing about this episode is at all entertaining or beneficial for residents of Carlton, who will have a tunnel dug beneath their homes and ventilation stacks puffing exhaust fumes, for the Friends of Royal Park, for heritage flora and fauna sites, for residents of Manningham Street, for residents of the Flemington housing estate or for properties and residents in Kensington.
A few weeks ago the Premier tried to convince people that travel times on the toll road will defy reality. He argued that people will be able to travel at 75 kilometres per hour through the tunnel during peak hour. This tunnel, which will carry an estimated 100 000 vehicles per day, will connect a congested Eastern Freeway to a congested CityLink, yet somehow cars will be able to zip between those two congested freeways. Maybe that is because it will be so expensive that very few people will choose to use it. The Premier cannot have it both ways. He cannot say the road is needed for thousands of cars and that travel times will be exceptional. That is a plot inconsistency that does not fool anyone.
It is worth noting that traffic projections for the east–west link hardly make the case for its necessity.
The government has predicted that somewhere between 80 000 and 120 000 vehicles will use the east–west link every day. There are over 4 million registered vehicles in Victoria. If 120 000 use the east–west link, that is a total of 3 per cent of Victoria’s vehicles. There are 1.5 million cars in Melbourne, and the government expects only 8 per cent of them to use the east–west link. CityLink carries 800 000 vehicles per day; the east–west link is projected to carry 120 000 at best. This project will use up billions of dollars that could be spent on public transport, schools and hospital beds but will service, at best, only 3 per cent of Victoria’s vehicles.
Who will benefit from this project? Most of the residents of my electorate of Melbourne certainly will not benefit, and at best only 8 per cent of Melburnians and 3 per cent of Victorians will use the road.
I want to make something very clear to the coalition, to the Linking Melbourne Authority and to Melbourne: I do not support the east–west link. The Labor opposition does not support the east–west link. A Labor government will not support the east–west link, because it will do nothing to reduce traffic on our roads; because it will steal money from schools, hospitals and public transport; because it is not warranted by traffic data; because the planning processes have been hasty, chaotic, slapdash and flawed; and because no-one other than the government has seen the secret business case.
The project has been marketed by the coalition as a second river crossing. I am not sure which maps the Premier is consulting, but on my maps there is no river between Parkville and Collingwood, so I am not sure which river stage 1 of the east–west link will cross.
The assessment committee report made public in June highlights dozens of concerns about the project and recommends that part B — a four-lane duplication of CityLink from Flemington to Footscray — be removed.
The Minister for Planning ignored this advice and requested a development plan for this section. We are now just weeks away from the advertised starting date for the construction of the project, and the Linking Melbourne Authority has said it has not even started drafting a plan for part B.
Labor MPs, community members and councils have worked tirelessly to challenge the completely substandard planning that is propping up the coalition’s east–west link. The coalition has been challenged by two FOI cases, two court cases, a Senate motion and thousands of community members taking action. Even the Productivity Commission has spoken out against infrastructure projects that are not subjected to rigorous public scrutiny. The commission wrote this year Properly conducted cost-benefit studies of large projects, and their disclosure to the public, is an important starting point for guiding project selection and improving the transparency of decision-making.
Further, the commission said that processes should be immediately reformed for planning and selecting public infrastructure projects, including rigorous and transparent use of cost-benefit analyses, evaluations, public consultation and public reporting of the decision, so as to maximise the net benefits for the whole community.
A transparent cost-benefit analysis and genuine consultation are missing from this project. In opposition, the now planning minister said he respected consultation. He said When we had public consultation, people meant it. I remember being an adviser in the Premier’s office — in the Kennett years, when — we actually did take things into account, particularly from industry groups and from councils, and those submissions meant something. Nowadays, it’s just done as part and parcel of spin.
Yes, nowadays it is just part and parcel of spin. The planning minister wrote recently … we have reformed our planning system to give real certainty to investors, councils and residents so that our suburbs are protected once and for all … That is not so when it comes to the east–west link.
There has been no protection for wetlands, trees, parkland, homes, Vision Australia, Urban Camp, the Flemington Community Centre, the Debneys Park playground, Manningham Street residents, Clifton Hill residents and Bendigo Street residents. None of these have been protected.
Members of the audience for this episode of real-life infrastructure planning are not laughing. This episode of Victoria’s Utopia needs a satisfying ending. The east–west link should not be built. A Labor government will not allow such cavalier disregard for people’s homes, parkland, community facilities, sports grounds, planning law, heritage and taxpayers money. Along with the thousands of community members who have fought this economic flop and planning and transport fiasco, we will continue to fight the coalition’s east–west link. We demand that this project be taken to the election so that Victorians can vote on it. Let us see what people actually think about it.
Liberal Party member, Ms Ryall (Mitcham) responds:
Ms Ryall trots out cliches about 'our children's future' whilst ignoring the herd of elephants in the room that the Liberal Party is unleashing to trample every child's future into the dust and despair of an overpopulated city in a petroleum depleted world.
Ms RYALL (Mitcham) — From the outset it is important to establish what the east–west link is about.
The east–west link is about the future. It is not just about us sitting here today. It is about our children and our children’s children and making sure that they have a city that works. It is not just about the political expediency that we have seen from those opposite.
There are significant benefits to the east–west link. As many members know, I live adjacent to the Eastern Freeway. I am very familiar with the amount of traffic that uses that freeway.
When I look back, I see that it was Labor that in 2008 commissioned the Rod Eddington report which recommended the building of the east–west link. It was Labor that trumpeted the east–west link. It made sure everybody knew about it. It was on the lips of every Labor member. In fact on 15 August 2008 former Premier John Brumby said I think what is undeniable, in Rod Eddington’s report, is that the city does need a second east-west crossing … So, one way or another we’ve got to address this issue of a second east-west crossing … The member for Lyndhurst said in 2008, and I quote from Hansard … the Greens have told motorists in the middle and outer west to ‘stick it’ — no new river crossings and no new roads for them. Car drivers in the west are to be punished, sacrificed on the altar of green ideology.
Who is telling who to ‘stick it’ now?
The Leader of the Opposition in a speech to the Melbourne Press Club in October 2012 said A back-up for the West Gate, which currently handles more than 165 000 vehicles a day as well as the significant commercial and residential growth in the west, makes the case compelling.
The member for Tarneit in his former role as roads minister said WestLink is an important project for Melbourne that will reduce over-reliance on the West Gate Bridge, cater for the planned expansion of the port of Melbourne, remove cars and trucks from local roads, create more jobs and improve our way of life.
Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten supported the east–west link. Bill Shorten and Cesar Melham stated in a document entitled Submission to Study by Sir Rod Eddington East–West Link Needs in 2009 The Australian Workers Union (AWU) believes that the new east–west link is crucial to jobs and economic growth. A new transport link from Melbourne’s booming west to the south east and eastern suburbs has the AWU’s strong support because the Victorian economy relies on the efficient movement of freight and people.
You have got to ask: what has changed? What has changed in that time that would suddenly make those opposite change their minds from saying, ‘This is what we need. There is a compelling case. The unions say it and the federal opposition leader says it’. What has changed? Nothing has changed apart from there being a few inner city seats at risk for those opposite Richmond, Northcote, Brunswick and Melbourne.
Labor has no choice but to oppose the east–west link because of those inner-city seats. There is no choice.
There is nothing scientific about this change. There is no sense to it other than political advantage.
This was a report commissioned by Labor when it was in government, trumpeting a second east–west river crossing and detailing all the reasons why it was important. Now members opposite want our kids and our grandkids and future generations to be relegated to Bangkok-style traffic congestion. That is what they want for our future generations. Do they think for a moment that our kids are going to thank us for it? Will they say thank you for the massive congestion on our roads? In my community this is about building for future generations. In my electorate we only need to look at the level crossing removals — the Mitcham and Rooks Road level crossings are gone, and every week I have people coming up to me saying thank you for removing that level crossing. The removal of the Blackburn Road level crossing is funded. The preliminary work on the level crossings at Bayswater Road and Scoresby Road in Bayswater has been commenced. The new Mitcham station has been completed. The tender for work on the Ringwood station and bus interchange has been let.
It has taken this government to deal with the road congestion in the Mitcham and Ringwood areas. It has taken this government to relieve and reduce that road congestion. Now people are saying, ‘Get on with the east–west link. Deal with it’. Week after week when I am out the community people are telling me to get it done. Tradies, businesspeople, workers and families are all saying, ‘Get it done’. They also want to see work being done for the Melbourne rail link, which will move an additional 35 000 people per peak hour. They are saying, ‘Get that done’. They are also asking, ‘Is the airport link going to happen? We have wanted it for so long’. They are saying, ‘We are so grateful that you are the only government that has committed to it. You are the only government that is putting our money where your mouth is’. Other infrastructure includes Box Hill Hospital.
Mr Angus — Hear, hear!
Ms RYALL — I agree. It is very much a ‘Hear, hear!’ for our community. The Box Hill Hospital is an incredible new facility with more than 200 additional new beds. There is the expansion of the Maroondah Hospital. There is the rebuilding of Blackburn Primary School, Mount Pleasant Road Primary School and Eastwood Primary School, as well as upgrades to Mullauna Secondary College, Ringwood Secondary College, Ringwood North Primary School and Ringwood Heights Primary School. This is what this government is doing to build for the future of our children and our children’s children. It is not just for now. It is about the future.
My father loved Slim Dusty. Slim Dusty sang a song called Looking Forward, Looking Back. On this side of the house is a government that looks forward to what needs to be done, not just now but in the future. Those opposite are looking back in the rear-vision mirror. It seems they were looking forward back in 2008 and 2009 when the Eddington report came out, but now they are looking back and saying, ‘No, we won’t do it’.
This government looks forward. It is planning for the future, building for growth and making a city and state that works. That is where we sit. If we followed Labor’s agenda, this state would be full of white elephants — just to complement their existing white elephants.
Mr Angus — Desal!
Ms RYALL — The desal plant! The member for Forest Hill talks about the desal plant, which is costing $1.8 million a day. Do members think that Victorians would rather spend their $1.8 million a day on their water bills or on hospitals, schools, rail and roads? Over the course of one week $1.8 million a day is sufficient to build an entire primary school, and on top of that it is providing no jobs. With our east–west link, our Melbourne rail link, our airport link, our Tullamarine Freeway widening and the Pakenham-Cranbourne train line upgrade we are talking tens of thousands of jobs.
It is not just about now, it is about the future and about job creation. We have to put all the factors in, based on very sound economic management — thanks to the Treasurer of this state — to make sure we have the funds to create jobs and build the infrastructure of the future. That is what the east–west link is about; it is part of an overall plan that is funded to make sure we have a state that works, to make sure that our kids and their kids can look back and say, ‘Thank you’, like we look back at Henry Bolte and say, ‘Thank you for the vision you had. Thank you for setting apart that land around the port of Hastings. Thank you for having the vision that we would have another port there’. People look back on coalition governments and say, ‘Thank you for the Bolte Bridge, thank you for the West Gate Bridge, thank you for CityLink’.
I think the member for Melton talked before about the amount of traffic on CityLink. We can only imagine that traffic being stuck there without CityLink. We have a mountain of people who need to get from A to B, and we have got Ringwood Secondary College that absolutely needs infrastructure.
SOURCE: PROOF PARLIAMENT OF VICTORIA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY DAILY HANSARD Wednesday, 3 September 2014
Two most powerful points that come across in the speeches below against the impending Act are that the Labor Party was willing to go along with the Act regarding greater powers for arresting people who are intoxicated and dangerous. A related motion to divide the Act into two was unfortunately defeated. The Liberal Party lawmakers were accused of rolling this one reasonable change together with an unreasonable change to the Sentencing Act. The Second powerful point against the impending Act was that it is designed to stop unions from impeding the hiring of scab labour. This seems to be true. Given that Workers' Conditions have been eroded since the Howard Government in conjunction with vast increases in numbers of worker immigrants, this question of scab labour is bound to come up more frequently and desperately in Victoria, as businesses close down, cost of living rises (power, housing, water etc) and employers seek to drive wages down. The Liberal Members response to this last point was to use arcane theoretical examples, such as pretending that those against the Act would be wanting to allow people to stop members of the public from buying chocolates from shopkeepers they did not like. Below are the Speeches against the Bill for the Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment.
- Second reading
Debate resumed from 12 December 2013; motion of Mr CLARK (Attorney-General).
Mr PAKULA (Lyndhurst) -- It gives me no pleasure to rise to speak on the
#match3" id="match2">#FF0000">Summary #match3" id="match2">#FF0000">Offences #match3" id="match2">#FF0000">and #match3" id="match2">#FF0000">Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013. However, it gives me some
pleasure to indicate to the house that Labor will oppose the bill, #match4" id="match3">#FF0000">and it will
oppose it proudly. We will oppose this bill because it amounts to the potential
criminalisation of all forms of protest in the state of Victoria. This is a bill
which represents the Premier's impersonation of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, #match5" id="match4">#FF0000">and which
represents his attempts to be a poor man's Campbell Newman.
This is a draconian, antidemocratic #match6" id="match5">#FF0000">and unnecessary bill.
In an even more cynical, tricky and unworthy move, the government has tried to
combine its draconian move-on powers with its alcohol-exclusion orders
provisions. I say very clearly that we think the alcohol-exclusion orders are
unenforceable and unworkable. They are not sufficiently offensive for us to
oppose them, but we think the bill ought to be split. We are calling on the
government to split the bill. The two effects have absolutely no commonality
between them whatsoever. If the bill is split, we will vote for the
alcohol-exclusion provisions, which are part 3 of the bill, but if the
government does not agree to split the bill, it is our intention to move a
motion to do just that.
Mr O'Brien interjected.
Mr PAKULA -- The Treasurer interjects. We will come to the subject of how
tough this is on alcohol-fuelled violence during the course of the debate.
It is important to look at the detail of the move-on powers. Which circumstances
will give rise to police and protective services officers (PSOs) having the
power to move protesters on under the threat of arrest? All a police officer or
a PSO needs in order to move someone on is to suspect on reasonable grounds that
the person: has committed an offence in that place, is causing a reasonable
apprehension of violence to another person, is causing or is likely to cause an
unreasonable obstruction to others, is present for the purpose of procuring or
supplying drugs, or is impeding or attempting to impede any person from lawfully
entering or leaving premises or parts of premises.
We heard from the Attorney-General as reported in the Melbourne Leader on 17
February. The Attorney-General is reported to have said that the laws target
serial law-breakers. The Attorney-General is quoted as saying:
- Every Victorian has the right to protest and express their views.
- However, when individuals resort to unlawful tactics that threaten the
livelihood of law-abiding businesses (and) employees ... they must be held to
That is what the Attorney-General said. But let us be clear: this is not a law
that applies solely to violent or unlawful protests -- it applies to any
protest. All that any police officer or PSO needs in order to break up a
protest, to move someone on or to arrest someone is a reasonable suspicion that
the person is causing an unreasonable obstruction, is likely to do so, or is
impeding or attempting to impede someone.
Mr O'Brien interjected.
Mr PAKULA -- The Treasurer interjects incessantly with his mantra, as if this
is some sort of brilliant -- --
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! It is disorderly to respond to
Mr PAKULA -- I say to the Treasurer that this is the same old nonsense that
the Tories have been going on with for 100 years, and it is the same old
nonsense that they resort to when they are in strife. This is the
same line that former Leader of the Opposition Robert Doyle ran in 2002 when he
was trying to save the furniture.
Let us go to examples of what would be covered by these move-on laws. They
include the lock-the-gate protest and the anti-fracking protest, which was
supported by The Nationals and the member for Bass. Those protesters could
easily be moved on or arrested under the powers provided in this bill. The
anti-McDonald's protesters in Tecoma could easily be moved on or arrested under
Mr O'Brien interjected.
Mr PAKULA -- The Treasurer says, 'They should be moved on'. That is right,
because anyone's protest is illegitimate in his view. If the government believes
a picket is illegal, it will order the police to move the protesters on.
That is what the Treasurer is saying. The nurses who were protesting during
enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations when the member for Hawthorn was
Premier could be moved on under these powers. The Baiada picket, where workers
were being horribly exploited, could be moved on under these powers. Taxi
licence holders protesting on the steps of Parliament could be moved on under
Teachers and even lawyers standing outside the County Court protesting against
legal aid cuts could be moved on under these powers. Paramedics could be moved
on under these powers. Anyone holding a protest outside a member of Parliament's
office could be moved on under these powers. Protesters holding a protest
outside 104 Exhibition Street could be moved on under these powers. On 28 June
2006 there was a protest in Liebig Street, Warrnambool, outside the office of
the member for South-West Coast and the now Premier came out. I refer to an
article in the Warrnambool Standard of June 2006, which says:
Dr Napthine's speech to workers was drowned out by crowd members shouting
'Out, out, out' as he said that since the federal government had been elected
in 1996 wages in real terms had increased ... Persistent heckling forced Dr
Napthine to retreat from the street into his office.
That is the kind of protest the government would like to see stopped and people
moved on or arrested because of some kind -- --
Mr O'Brien -- Garbage!
Mr PAKULA -- The Treasurer says, 'Rubbish'.
Mr Wynne -- 'Garbage' he said.
Mr PAKULA -- He said, 'Garbage'.
My question to the Treasurer is: how would he know. Is he suggesting that once
this power is provided that the government can control which protests are moved
on and which are not?
Mr O'Brien -- Don't you trust the courts?
Mr PAKULA -- It has got nothing to do with the courts.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! The member should address his
comments through the Chair.
Mr PAKULA -- The Treasurer says, 'Don't you trust the courts?'. All that needs
to happen is that a policeman or protective services officer (PSO) on the ground
at the time forms a view about the nature of the protest and moves them on.
Even during a protest like the Plug the Pipe protest, an issue so beloved by the
members for Benalla, Swan Hill and Seymour; they could all be told to move on,
then be arrested, then have their names kept in a register and then have orders
issued against them.
The Treasurer behaves as if it is only the opposition, only the Labor Party,
that has formed this view about the move-on powers. Let us have a look at some
of the groups who have written to me and written to the government who are
opposed to these powers. They include the St Kilda Legal Service, the Federation
of Community Legal Centres Victoria, the Peninsula Community Legal Centre,
Youthlaw, Western Suburbs Legal Service, the Independent Riders Group and the
Law Institute of Victoria. Geoff Bowyer, the new president of the law institute,
has said these laws could:
- have a significant and devastating impact on the homeless who, by the nature
of their situation, are forced to gather in public places, often returning to
a familiar spot after being moved on.
The Human Rights Law Centre has described the potential for misuse as being very
high. This is not something that has just been dreamt up by the Labor Party or
by unions; this is widely opposed throughout the legal fraternity by the Human
Rights Law Centre, the law institute, the Independent Riders Group and all
manner of members of this community because they are draconian laws and they are
It is interesting to recall what government members said when they were in
opposition. On 9 December 2009 the member for Benalla talked about the
'democratic right to protest' of the Plug the Pipe protesters, but now he wants
to take that right away for
others. I suppose it does not matter for the member for Benalla because he is on
his way out of here.
On 10 November 2009, the member for Malvern, now the Treasurer, said:
- It is important to note the fact that there is a very important right to
lawfully protest. We on this side of the house would not seek to do anything
which would interfere with that lawful right.
What happened to those noble sentiments?
Mr O'Brien interjected.
Mr PAKULA -- The Treasurer keeps saying, 'Lawful' as if it is only illegal
protests which are targeted, but that is not the case.
Mr O'Brien interjected.
Mr PAKULA -- Treasurer, unlike you, I have.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! The member should address his
comments through the Chair.
Mr PAKULA -- On 15 March 2010 the Leader of The Nationals, now the Deputy
- Any information gathered on protesters by the government or private security
firms must be destroyed.
- There's something very wrong in Victoria when local communities are subject to
this sort of bullying and intimidation from a government.
Now he wants police to record and keep the very same information against
We have already heard the Treasurer say today that those anti-McDonald's
protesters in Tecoma ought to have been moved on and ought to have been arrested
if they did not move on when they were told to. That is the way this government
wants to treat communities; that is the way this government wants to treat
protests in this state. Every Victorian should understand the way in which the
government is seeking to stifle protest in this state. Police and PSOs can give
a move-on order to a group; and if it is not complied with, every member of that
group can be arrested, their names recorded, their names retained and 12-month
exclusion orders applied for. Nothing unlawful needs to be happening.
Mr O'Brien interjected.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! I ask the Treasurer to cease
Mr PAKULA -- Can I take up the interjection?
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! No.
Mr PAKULA -- Acting Speaker, let me make the point without the interjection.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! The member for Lyndhurst should
address his comments through the Chair.
Mr PAKULA -- In the case of industrial picketing, Acting Speaker, this power
applies even to legally protected industrial action. That has been made clear by
the government. It applies to picket lines against which no orders have been
granted, and it applies to picket lines against which no orders have been
sought, so no-one needs to have gone to court, and no illegal declaration needs
to have been made about the picket line. When the Treasurer sits here and says
that it is only about illegal pickets, that is pure sophistry on his part. No
order has to have been made against the picket, and no order has to have been
applied for against the picket. The determination of whether or not it is
illegal is simply in the hands of whoever is on duty at the time.
Mr O'Brien interjected.
Mr PAKULA -- All that in fact needs to have happened, Treasurer, is that a big
Liberal Party donor needs to have made a call to your office or to the Premier's
office, after which you make the call and say, 'Get these people out of here',
as we know occurred before.
Mr O'Brien -- On a point of order, Acting Speaker, I find the comments of the
member for Lyndhurst offensive and require them to be withdrawn.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! The member for Lyndhurst has been
asked to withdraw.
Mr PAKULA -- I will withdraw. I think it is extraordinary that the Treasurer
is so thin-skinned given the accusations and the allegations he throws around in
this house day in and day out.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! The member for Lyndhurst will
address his remarks through the Chair.
An honourable member -- Withdraw.
Mr PAKULA -- I withdraw. Day in, day out this Treasurer -- --
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! The member for Lyndhurst has
withdrawn. The member for Lyndhurst to continue.
Mr PAKULA -- Day in, day out this Treasurer comes into this place and makes
all sorts of unfounded allegations, not just against members of this Parliament
but against people who have no connection to this Parliament. He does it under
privilege, and he never repeats his allegations outside.
Mr O'Brien -- Struck a nerve, didn't I?
Mr PAKULA -- Well, can I say that I have never asked him for a withdrawal. The
fact is that all that needs to happen is that police need to reasonably suspect
that someone has been impeded or -- --
Honourable members interjecting.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! I ask the member for Monbulk and the
Treasurer to cease interjecting.
Mr PAKULA -- All that needs to happen for this law to be activated is for
someone on the ground, a police officer or a protective services officer, to
reasonably suspect that someone is or may be impeded or obstructed, or that
someone might attempt to impede or obstruct. It applies to every example I have
cited. In regard to the courts, the courts only get involved after the moving on
The government picks a bunch of examples and says, 'That would not happen in
reality'. But as I have indicated, once the power is granted, unless the
government knows something that the opposition does not, the government does not
get to pick and choose which forms of protest and which types of protesters get
Every community rally and every community protest can be subject to these laws,
unless there is a phone call.
We heard interjections from the Treasurer. The government wants Victorians to
believe that this bill is about drug dealing. Why then is it not confined to
that? The government wants Victorians to believe that the bill is about violent
or unlawful protest, but the fact is the police already have the power to deal
with unlawful behaviour, violence or trespass. The government wants Victorians
to believe that this is about things like
east-west link protesters, but by the Linking Melbourne Authority's own
admission those protests have not cost the project even one day of lost time.
This is about all the other protests -- the lawful ones, the peaceful ones, the
inconvenient ones -- --
Mr O'Brien interjected.
Mr PAKULA -- Do you have Tourette's? You just go on and on and on with the
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! The member for Lyndhurst!
Mr PAKULA -- This is about the protests that cause the government political
embarrassment. This is about the ones where the government's mates make a phone
call and say, 'Call off the dogs'. This is about a government wanting to pick
and choose which protests it sees as worthy and which it sees as inconvenient,
where these powers will be activated. It is unwarranted, unnecessary,
antidemocratic and draconian, and it runs counter to every faux noble sentiment
coalition MPs expressed in opposition.
Those sentiments were convenient to them then, but we know, by virtue of the
introduction of this bill, that they did not mean them. If you applied all of
those quotes that I referred to earlier to this law, you would see there is an
inexplicable degree of dissonance. If you took the comments of the Treasurer,
the Deputy Premier and the member for Benalla at face value, you would think
those people could not support the introduction of this bill.
Turning to the alcohol-exclusion orders, they are a meritorious idea. The
opposition says quite openly that they are a meritorious idea. The notion of
barring people from drinking alcohol if they have committed heinous crimes in
which alcohol is a significant factor is a meritorious idea. But it is a good
idea which is being incompetently executed. It is an idea the utility of which
has been almost fatally undermined by the government's brainless obsession with
If you look at the provisions of the bill, it will not achieve, on any planet,
the objectives that the government says are the objectives of the bill.
Does the government, for example, leave it to judges to assess the merits of a
particular case and to look at how serious the offence was? Does the government
leave it to judges to assess whether the offender has priors? Does the
government leave it to judges to assess how big a factor alcohol was in the
commission of the offence and then leave it to judges to decide how long to
exclude the offender from licenced places for? No. It is a mandated period of
two years even if in the circumstances a judge might find that the appropriate
exclusion period was one year or indeed three years. The judge does not get to
make any of those decisions. The government has said that in every case it is
two years. Whether or not two years is right or justifiable, no matter how big a
factor alcohol was, no matter what
priors the offender has, it is two years, two years, two years.
Does the government provide licensed venues with any kind of information about
who the excluded people are? Does the government provide licensed venues with a
list of names of people who have been excluded? Does the government provide
licensed venues with photographs of people who have been excluded? Does the
government provide any additional resources whatsoever to enforce these
alcohol-exclusion orders? The answers are no, no, no and no. No-one who runs any
licensed venue will have any idea, either by name or picture, of who the
excluded people are. There are no additional resources for anyone to enforce
this law. It is totally and utterly unenforceable.
Most importantly, I ask: is it the drinking of alcohol that is barred? Is it the
purchase of alcohol that is barred? The answer is no.
Mr Clark interjected.
Mr PAKULA -- I say to the Attorney-General that that would clearly make too
much sense for this government. If someone who is excluded wanders across the
road to the European and orders a coffee or a poached egg, they will have
committed an offence -- because it is a licensed venue. Someone else can buy
that person a sixpack of beer and that is fine, but if they go across the road
and order a coffee at a licensed venue, they will have committed an offence. The
Treasurer was saying by interjection before that the Labor Party does not want
to deal with alcohol-fuelled violence. I ask: are the streets really safer if a
violent drunk cannot purchase an egg or if a violent drunk cannot order a coffee
at 8 o'clock in the morning? Are the streets really safer in those
Honourable members interjecting.
Mr PAKULA -- Every licensed venue, morning or night, whether or not the
offender -- --
Honourable members interjecting.
Mr PAKULA -- The Attorney-General is soft on boiled eggs. Seriously, it is
just a mantra repeated over and over again in the face of all the evidence. In
the face of a rising crime rate, in the face of overflowing prisons, in the face
of a court system collapsing and, in the face of legal aid falling apart,
members of this government keep running around beating their chests, saying, 'We
are tough on crime', while the crime rate goes up. What an absolute triumph! No
licensee of any venue, morning or night, whether or not the offender is trying
to buy alcohol, will have any information provided. There are no extra resources
for Victoria Police. This is just the epitome of an all-show, no-go confidence
trick. It is an absolute sham.
As I indicated at the outset, there is nothing in the provisions relating to the
alcohol-exclusion orders that could not be rectified, amended or fixed by a
government whose members applied some common sense and competence to them. If
the government is prepared to split the bill, opposition members will vote for
the alcohol-exclusion orders. If the government will not split the bill, in the
consideration-in-detail stage the opposition will move its own motion to do just
that. There is nothing in the alcohol-exclusion orders part of the bill that
cannot be fixed by a government whose members know what they are doing.
However, the move-on powers are irredeemable. They are draconian. They are quite
simply Bjelke-Petersen-era laws. They mean that we have set off down the
Mr O'Brien interjected.
Mr PAKULA -- I say to the Treasurer that those people protesting outside
McDonald's in Tecoma are not thugs, nurses are not thugs, paramedics are not
thugs and taxi protesters out on the steps of Parliament are not thugs. I will
tell the house who government members believe is a thug. They believe that a
thug is anyone who opposes their agenda. Anyone who opposes this Treasurer's or
this Attorney-General's agenda is in their eyes a thug -- and they are
determined to shut those people up, to silence them and to haul them off to
jail. They want to haul off to jail taxi protesters, McDonald's Tecoma
protesters and Lock the Gate protesters. In the eyes of members of this
government these people are all thugs and enemies of the state because they have
the temerity to stand up to this government and to stand up for their rights.
Members on this side of the house want to make it very clear that we do not
believe that people protesting about a McDonald's in Tecoma are thugs, we do not
believe nurses are thugs, we do not believe teachers are thugs and we do not
believe paramedics are thugs. We do not believe that people who are standing up
for their basic rights and exercising their lawful right to protest are thugs.
With these laws, we have set off down the slippery slope. Today members are
debating a set of laws which infringe the vital right to protest that exists in
a democracy. It is a hard-fought-for right, a vital right and the hallmark of
any free society. These laws fundamentally offend the principles that all the
so-called lovers of freedom opposite claim to hold so dear. Members of the
Liberal Party believe in freedom
for their mates, but they do not believe in freedom for the people who might
have the audacity to stand up for themselves #match7" id="match6">#FF0000">and oppose the government's agenda.
The Labor Party will defend the right of people to protest, because these laws
do not only deal with unlawful #match8" id="match7">#FF0000">and violent protest. These laws criminalise
lawful protest, they criminalise peaceful protest #match9" id="match8">#FF0000">and they criminalise any
protest the government finds offensive. We will oppose these move-on laws, we
will oppose them proudly #match10" id="match9">#FF0000">and, if we are elected in November, we will repeal
Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) -- It is my pleasure to rise to support the Summary
#match11" id="match10">#FF0000">Offences #match11" id="match10">#FF0000">and #match11" id="match10">#FF0000">Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013. What a load of rubbish we have just
heard from the member for Lyndhurst -- talk about Chicken Little saying, 'The
sky is falling in' -- about what we are doing to keep people safe #match12" id="match11">#FF0000">and ensure
that businesses can get on with what they need to do, which is provide jobs.
We have seen day in and day out in this place that the Labor Party is very quick
to stand up and talk about what is happening with jobs in our state. Yet time
and again outside various business premises in our state we have seen the rights
of those businesses being impeded by protesters who are not protesting lawfully
and are not peaceful. I will come to that in a minute.
The bill protects people's right to express their views and interests in a
legitimate way and continue to protest; however, it extends powers to deal with
people who are impeding others from lawfully accessing a premises, who have
committed an offence in a public place, who are causing others to have a
reasonable fear of violence or who are endangering safety or engaging in
behaviour that is likely to cause damage to other people's property.
Mr Pakula interjected.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! The member for Lyndhurst has had his
Mr SOUTHWICK -- This is not about those people who want to peacefully protest
and express their views. This is about the unlawful thugs who support the Labor
Party. It is about the union mates who support and fund the Labor Party. The
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has been out there engaging in
unlawful behaviour on building sites and has actively sought to disrupt business
and ensure that business comes to a standstill while union protesters are there.
We saw that with the Grocon action, which led to losses of $500 000 a day -- a
total of $10 million worth of damages -- due to inactivity as a result of the
union blockade that brought the streets to a standstill.
We saw it with the east-west link protests, which the member for Lyndhurst says
did not cost taxpayers a dollar.
Let me draw to the attention of the member for Lyndhurst the fact that the
police response to try to keep people safe covered 2575 8-hour shifts and is now
estimated to have exceeded $1.65 million in taxpayer money. Police have
pinpointed 10 people who broke the law in their efforts to prevent construction
of the east-west link from taking place. This is not about a peaceful protest.
It is about demonstrators stopping an economic activity that provides jobs and
ensures that Victoria remains open for business.
The Labor Party wants to shut the door and say, 'No, we're going to look after
our union mates'. I refer to Baiada Poultry in Laverton, which lost over $1
million in spoilt chicken as a result of protesters. They locked the doors
during that protest. A small business owner who had two trucks inside the
facility was not able to access the facility to get his spoilt chicken, and he
lost his small business as a result of being locked out of that plant.
Electricity was shut down and no diesel was allowed into that plant, and as a
result of the protest that small business and many other small businesses lost
I now turn my attention to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign
protests. We have seen a series of BDS protests. Opposition members are shaking
their heads, and so they should be. Firstly, in December 2010 we saw a protest
in Melbourne Central shopping centre. The protesters had agreed with police that
they would peacefully protest -- this comes to the crux of what this law change
is all about -- but they then went into Melbourne Central, completely took over
the shopping centre and protested until activists had to be removed from that
site. In the second incident protesters went to the Park Hyatt Melbourne hotel
and continued that behaviour.
Mr Pakula interjected.
Mr SOUTHWICK -- I will come to that.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! The member for Caulfield should
speak through the Chair.
Mr SOUTHWICK -- In February 2011 there was another protest where police again
had to physically remove protesters who were impeding business at a store. It
shut down the whole shopping centre precinct for a number of hours. A number of
small businesses were affected as a result of this.
In April 2011 a Jericho cosmetics store, a small business, closed because of two
previous protests. The business owners decided to close the store because they
were not going to deal with protesters again. That was not good enough for the
protesters; they wanted to get someone, so they went to the Max Brenner store.
The Max Brenner protest involved physical confrontation with police members, and
the demonstrators were moved on. There were altercations with police, and 10
police members sustained minor injuries as a result of the protest -- so much
for the claims of a peaceful protest from the Labor Party.
In the fourth protest, again in 2011, the police public order management unit
was brought in to help police at the event with the intention of making arrests.
At this stage no arrests were made. The protesters could not get close to the
store because they were surrounded by police trying to protect the shop owners
and the businesses, so the protesters decided to take up positions on the ground
and first levels of the shopping centre.
On this occasion Melbourne Central was again stampeded by these protesters and
shut down for a number of hours. Not one store, not two stores, but the whole of
Melbourne Central was shut down as a result of this.
A fifth protest took place at a subsequent time. Some protesters went into the
Max Brenner store while others waited in another wing. The protesters who went
into the store had jumpers on and appeared to be consumers. At a given time they
took off their jumpers and were wearing shirts with protest slogans. They
chained themselves to the chairs and tables in the store and the protesters in
the other wing came into the store. An altercation took place and 19 arrests
Honourable members interjecting.
Mr SOUTHWICK -- Here is the kicker for the vocalists on the other side: all
the 19 protesters arrested were let off under the current laws because in those
circumstances they were not breaking the law. They could chain themselves to
furniture in the store, shut it down for hours, block traffic and block people
from coming into the store, but they were all let off because the current law
does not provide for move-on powers. The current law does not provide for those
who shut down businesses and aggressively protest, but the Labor Party is happy
for these protesters to continue aggressively doing what they are doing --
shutting down businesses one after the other and targeting businesses in
Honourable members interjecting.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McCurdy) -- Order! The member for Yuroke!
Mr SOUTHWICK -- If opposition members were genuine, they would distinguish
between what are genuine, peaceful protests and what is a disgraceful attempt to
shut down and disrupt a business and harm not only that business but its
employees, the shopkeeper, shoppers and everybody else around the store.
This legislation is designed to restore activity, restore confidence and give
police necessary powers. Opposition members should be standing up for the
Victorian policemen and women who have to deal with these disgraceful
activities. They should be standing up for those Victorian police who have to
cop it on the chin time and again. The police have told us there is nothing they
can do under the current laws. Under these new laws we are giving them the
opportunity to do something about it -- arrest those behaving disruptively, stop
that sort of activity and allow businesses to get on with what they do best. The
bill is designed to allow businesses to be successful, not be shut down, and to
provide jobs, not cut jobs, as the Labor Party wants to do.
Mr MERLINO (Monbulk) -- The Labor Party vehemently opposes the Summary
#match13" id="match12">#FF0000">Offences #match13" id="match12">#FF0000">and #match13" id="match12">#FF0000">Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013. I oppose this bill on behalf of the
community I am proud to represent. Labor opposes this bill because it is grossly
antidemocratic. The bill seeks to criminalise all forms of peaceful community
protest. The single biggest issue in the Dandenongs is the establishment of a
McDonald's franchise in Tecoma. As many members would be aware, it is the
subject of a massive #match14" id="match13">#FF0000">and peaceful community protest.
On Tuesday members of my community -- local mums #match15" id="match14">#FF0000">and dads -- protested on the
steps of Parliament House against McDonald's in Tecoma. During debate on this
bill, as the shadow Attorney-General, the member for Lyndhurst, was on his feet
leading Labor's opposition to the bill, the Treasurer said the McDonald's
protesters should have been moved on. That is the truth of what is behind this
legislation. I tell the Treasurer that every single person in Tecoma #match16" id="match15">#FF0000">and right
across the Dandenongs will be made aware of his comments.
Mr O'Brien interjected.
Mr MERLINO -- 'Terrific', the Treasurer says. He can rest assured that that
Eleven hundred and seventy submissions opposed the application to council, and
they did so because this McDonald's would be completely and utterly out of
character with the Dandenongs and would set a disastrous precedent. Council
unanimously opposed the application. The Victorian Civil and Administrative
Tribunal (VCAT), in a reprehensible decision, overturned that democratic
decision of council. The Napthine government has done nothing to resolve this
issue. Indeed in this bill the government seeks to blame and curtail the rights
of the Dandenong Ranges community.
The failure of VCAT and this government has not deterred the community. There
have been public rallies of thousands and thousands of people, almost daily
protests and a petition of well over 100 000 signatures. A survey was conducted
and every house in Tecoma was doorknocked with one question: 'Are you for or
against the proposed McDonald's in Tecoma?'. Almost 90 per cent opposed it.
The people of Tecoma and the Dandenong Ranges do not want it, and in our
democratic society they have every right to have their voices heard and to
protest peacefully against this inappropriate development. They have been a
constant presence at the construction site -- and good on them, I say.
On 16 July last year McDonald's issued a writ against eight protesters who
became known as the Tecoma 8. On 18 July McDonald's obtained an interim
injunction in the Supreme Court that included not only the original eight
protesters but anyone else who had obstructed a vehicle or trespassed in the
previous two weeks. 'Anyone else' -- does this sound familiar? On 28 July, 3000
to 4000 people turned out to protest on the streets of Tecoma -- local
residents, mums and dads, who do not want this facility built.
The law firm Maurice Blackburn took up the case. It stated:
- Maurice Blackburn represented the 'Tecoma 8' pro bono because we believe
peaceful protest is fundamental to civil rights and democracy.
- We believe the legal action and tactics being used by McDonald's Australia to
stop protesters in Tecoma, Victoria, were an affront to civil liberties.
- An interim Supreme Court injunction restricted the movement of people who had
protested against the development. The final orders sought by McDonald's
involved a group being appointed as representatives of a much larger group. If
made, they were likely to be so broad in their application that they could
have applied to people who did not know they were subject to them ...
- This case went beyond Tecoma.
- The orders were intimidating for many community activists because they bound
an ill-defined class of people, and were structured in such a way that, if
successful, could have had significant implications for other community
Following mediation McDonald's abandoned the lawsuit. The Napthine government,
through this draconian and antidemocratic bill, is seeking to do what McDonald's
failed to do. The Napthine government is acting against the community of the
Dandenong Ranges, and this bill is an affront to those people. It provides
powers to police to move on one person or many, to break up community protests
and to arrest protesters if they have a reasonable suspicion that someone is
impeding or attempting to impede. Deputy Speaker, when you have 4000 people
marching down Burwood Highway, it is a bit hard, don't you think, not to be
If the police choose to move people on, as the Attorney-General said in his
- ... police and PSOs may give one direction to an entire group rather than
having individually to direct each person in the group to move on.
If those 4000 local residents marching down Burwood Highway are told by police
to move on and they choose not to, they could be arrested. They will be ordered
to give their names and addresses. Those names and addresses could be retained,
and then the police could apply for an exclusion order -- an exclusion order for
4000 local residents -- to say that they cannot congregate around Tecoma to
express their concern about the McDonald's.
Through this bill this government is criminalising the peaceful community
protest of thousands of my constituents. Labor will never support this.
Through this bill the government wants to destroy the local campaign to stop
McDonald's in Tecoma. Just a few minutes ago the Treasurer exposed the truth of
that. He wants the protesters to be moved on, he wants the police to -- --
The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! The member knows it is disorderly to respond to
interjections, and I would suggest that he does not respond to the interjection
from the Treasurer.
Mr Pakula -- The Treasurer is not even here!
The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! I am the Chair here. I have said it is disorderly
to respond to interjections. It does not matter when the interjection was, it is
disorderly to respond to it.
Mr MERLINO -- I refer to comments from Maurice Blackburn, which acted pro bono
on behalf of the Tecoma 8. Maurice Blackburn lawyer Elizabeth O'Shea said this
about the bill:
- It effectively criminalises a range of behaviours that are fundamental to
freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. The right to protest has resulted
in hard-won freedoms we all enjoy and curbed excesses of corporate and
political power. Why is the Victorian government so frightened of people
congregating to express their views?
Why is the Napthine government so afraid of my community in the Dandenong
Ranges? Labor is opposing this bill and, as the shadow Attorney-General pointed
out, if we are elected to government in November, Labor will repeal the
I challenge the future Liberal candidate for Monbulk to make that same
commitment in the lead-up to this election. I will be putting that to the future
Liberal candidate for Monbulk, everyone in Tecoma will be putting that to the
future Liberal candidate for Monbulk, #match17" id="match16">#FF0000">and we will find out if that candidate has
the same view as the Treasurer, the Premier, the Attorney-General #match18" id="match17">#FF0000">and everyone
on the government benches who feels that it is appropriate to produce a piece of
legislation that is so antidemocratic, so like what Joh Bjelke-Petersen would
have produced in Queensland many years ago. That is what this government has
produced. Labor will oppose the bill, #match19" id="match18">#FF0000">and Labor will repeal the legislation if
elected in November.
Mr NEWTON-BROWN (Prahran) -- The Summary #match20" id="match19">#FF0000">Offences #match20" id="match19">#FF0000">and #match20" id="match19">#FF0000">Sentencing Amendment
Bill 2013 is yet another election commitment being fulfilled by the coalition
We promised we would set up banning notices for people convicted of violent
assaults in licensed premises and give police and licensees the tools they need
to make sure that they are safe when people socialise on licensed premises. This
is what we are doing with this bill, but it also goes much further. As we heard
during the harangue by the member for Monbulk over the last 10 minutes, the bill
also gives police the power to move people on.
Much misinformation has been spread, both in the chamber today by the members
for Monbulk and Lyndhurst and more generally by the union movement. There has
been a lot of froth and bubble about rights being protected and the freedom of
people to demonstrate and protest. This bill does nothing to impinge on those
rights. Peaceful demonstration is a cherished part of our democracy, and it is
not impacted by this bill. The right to protest or demonstrate is not absolute.
The members for Lyndhurst and Monbulk seem to think that those rights should not
be tempered in any way.
The new human rights commissioner, Tim Wilson, took up his post this week. He is
one of my constituents. In one of his first interviews he said that freedoms are
not absolute; they must be tempered by the impacts they have on other freedoms.
In other words, freedom cannot impinge on other rights which are as legitimate.
Therefore it is okay to exercise your right to demonstrate as long as that right
to demonstrate does not impinge on other people's rights not to be intimidated,
threatened, harassed or attacked. It is not okay to demonstrate if that involves
forcibly preventing people from entering their workplace. It is not okay to
demonstrate if that involves punching police horses or running over people in
Are these the freedoms that the member for Monbulk is seeking to protect?
Because every one of those things happened at a demonstration at the Myer
Emporium site in 2012. I went for a walk down there when the picket line was in
force, and I have to say it was an intimidating sight.
Large numbers of workers were blocking the entrance to the building site, there
was a lot of yelling and screaming, and the Grollos sustained an attack on them
which went on for weeks. The police had inadequate powers to move on the violent
As an aside and by way of disclosure, I worked for the Grollos for three months
as a labourer on one of their building sites. I was an undercover lawyer. I was
working in construction law, and I was sent to learn about construction hands
on, so I worked at the State Electricity Commission headquarters site in
Flinders Lane. It was quite an experience. I went through various trades --
concreting, steel fixing, installing conduits -- but my cover was blown early
on, perhaps by the neat creases my mother had ironed in my overalls. Despite
this, the workforce was happy to have me there and I learnt a lot.
There was a little bit of gentle bastardisation -- I was given a homemade hammer
made out of a bit of water pipe, which was balanced like a sledgehammer -- but I
was happy to endure that and was certainly happy to be out in the open air,
learning a bit about the practicalities of the area of law in which I was
One thing that struck me, however, was the loyalty of the Grollo workforce. It
was like one big family. Workers were looked after, and those with special needs
were looked after. It was not about fighting for awards and conflict between
boss and worker; it really was an atmosphere of respect and mutual care that
permeated that workforce. So it did not surprise me to
hear that the Grollo workforce united against those union picketers. People were
drawn in from outside that site to protest, and the Grollo workforce, many of
whom were union members, actually asked the picketers to go away. All they
wanted to do was to turn up to work for their employer and do the job for which
they were being paid.
I refer briefly to an article by Daniel Grollo which was published in the
Financial Review this week. He set out the sequence of events that led to this
picketing, which he said started 12 years ago when the Grollos took a stand
against lawless behaviour by unions. The Construction, Forestry, Mining and
Energy Union (CFMEU) secretary at the time simply said, 'We'll just smash them',
and that is what they tried to do. Mr Grollo noted that many of his
subcontractors and suppliers could not stand the heat, could not stand the
weight of the campaign against them, and he is thankful that there will soon be
a royal commission to put the construction industry under the microscope.
Mr Grollo shed light on the CFMEU 'business model', stating that the standard
practice is for the CFMEU to demand that a construction company employ a union
colleague that it nominates. Once that occurs, if the company caves in and
agrees, the union then has a foothold to take control of the operations and shut
down the site industrially, should there be any challenge to the union's power
in the future.
August 2012 was when the CFMEU marshalled those thousands of workers from other
building sites. It made the claim that Grocon was anti-union and had shocking
safety standards when in fact the federal safety watchdog had just recognised
Grocon as having the best safety systems across the whole industry. Certainly
the employees of Grocon did not support the union's claims on safety. They were
spurious claims with a spurious basis on which the violent picket line was
The Grocon workers themselves went public, put their necks on the line and wrote
an open letter, simply asking that the basic rights that the union leadership
enjoyed also be extended to the workers on the Grocon site -- that is, to be
able to go to work, to have the respect of the union, of the workers and of the
company, and for business to continue without these sorts of illegal
Therefore the question has to be asked: is this what the ALP is seeking to
protect? Is it seeking to protect the rights of people to demonstrate in a way
which is illegal and which is against the interests of those workers who wish to
enter their workplace in a legal manner? It is clear that there are numerous
other examples as well. The Max Brenner case is another high-profile example of
an inappropriate demonstration, with the boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS)
organisation protesting outside the Max Brenner stores.
Again, this was a disgusting and in this case also a racist campaign that simply
overstepped the mark and had a terrible impact on the business of Max Brenner.
It scared customers away. Is this really the freedom the ALP wishes to protect
-- freedom for the BDS organisation to protest against businesses such as Max
The coalition government is prepared to stand up for the Jewish community -- for
the whole community -- when it is attacked by unlawful picket lines and unlawful
demonstrations that overstep the mark, from free speech to impacting on those
other rights we also hold dear.
With this legislation a clear message is being sent: peaceful protest #match21" id="match20">#FF0000">and
peaceful demonstration is encouraged -- it is part of our democracy -- but the
community does not think it is okay to stop people going to work through fear
#match22" id="match21">#FF0000">and intimidation, the community does not think it is okay to violently attack
police who are trying to uphold people's rights to go to work #match23" id="match22">#FF0000">and the community
does not accept that protest can be used for ugly, racist attacks on decent,
law-abiding people. The bill should be supported by the opposition, #match24" id="match23">#FF0000">and I
commend it to the house.
Mr WYNNE (Richmond) -- I rise to make a contribution to the Summary #match25" id="match24">#FF0000">Offences
#match26" id="match25">#FF0000">and #match26" id="match25">#FF0000">Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013 following the superb contributions by the
shadow Attorney-General #match27" id="match26">#FF0000">and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
In doing so I reiterate the fundamental position of the Australian Labor Party
that not only do we oppose this bill but that if we are given the honour of
being elected at the end of this year, we will repeal this bill as one of our
first actions in government.
Why do we make this commitment? We do it for some very fundamental reasons. This
bill essentially erodes the hard-fought-for rights of people to protest in this
state. Its genesis is a deep, abiding and visceral hatred by this government of
people who seek to show dissent, people who seek to organise themselves, people
who are part of organised labour, people who are part of the trade union
movement. We see this demonstrated every day by this unelected Premier when he
comes in here at question time. There is nothing that excites this Premier more
than bashing the Labor Party and the trade union movement. These are the only
two things in life that give him pleasure. It is the same old shtick by this
All this morally bankrupt government can do is bring forward this sort of
legislation that essentially erodes the fundamental rights of citizens in our
stand up and protest when they see decisions proposed by this government that
are wrong. It is wrong in relation to the east-west tunnel, which is a
fundamental mistake that has been made by this government. I support the right
of members of my community to protest peacefully against the east-west tunnel
every single day. I support the people of the community of Tecoma if they want
to stand up and express their views about decisions made and about how their
community ought to operate in the future. I also support the right of members of
the trade union movement to peacefully protest to ensure their fundamental
rights are protected. That is why we oppose this legislation. It is draconian
and antidemocratic, and it echoes back to those very dark days of the
Bjelke-Petersen government. Who could ever forget those days when, if more than
two people -- three people -- congregated together it was an illegal act. We see
the views of this deeply conservative Attorney-General echoing through this
legislation. That is very clear to us.
There are a number of aspects to this bill that I think are extraordinarily
dangerous. The first is that in the context of this bill a police officer or a
protective services officer (PSO) merely needs to suspect on reasonable grounds
that a person has committed an offence in that place or is causing a reasonable
apprehension of violence in another person, is causing or is likely to cause an
undue obstruction to others or is present for the purposes of procuring or
supplying drugs. The bill refers to reasonable grounds. I was very concerned
after having recently read a really excellent brief provided to, I think, all
members of Parliament by the Fitzroy Legal Service.
It provided a brief to us to inform the community of the potential impacts of
The briefing paper was provided by Meghan Fitzgerald, the solicitor for the
Fitzroy Legal Service, and is endorsed by no less prestigious organisations than
the Salvation Army; the Council to Homeless Persons; the Victorian Drug and
Alcohol Association; HomeGround Services, one of our major and distinguished
emergency housing providers; Youth Projects; Justice Connect: Homeless Law; Flat
Out; the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service; and others. These are prestigious
organisations, particularly the Salvation Army. They have noted that very deep
concerns have been expressed about the potential impact of this particular bill
on the most marginalised communities.
It is not surprising that I would deal with this issue, given that I have a long
history of working with and supporting marginalised communities, not only in my
own electorate but more generally across the state. What strikes me particularly
about this bill is the aspect of it that goes to the question of someone causing
or being likely to cause an undue obstruction to others.
I will tell the house the story of where I was on Sunday. I went down to
Enterprize Park to represent my party and to acknowledge the tragic death of a
homeless man called Mouse, who had been stabbed to death in the viaduct
underneath the railway line at the park.
I went to that event with members of the Salvation Army and with the Lord Mayor
and other distinguished people. I was simply there to acknowledge the fact that
not only had dreadful harm being done there but to say more broadly to the
community that homeless people are welcome, that there is a place for homeless
people in this city and that this poor 42-year-old man's life had not been taken
in vain. I was there to say that we as a community were prepared -- and there
were perhaps 200 to 300 of us present -- to stand up together and say, 'No, your
life actually did amount to something, Mouse. We do acknowledge your life, and
in the future we need to do better when we are trying to deal with homeless
people in this state'.
Certainly the legacy of this government thus far is a very sad legacy when it
comes to addressing homelessness.
What does the bill mean for those displaced people? Causing unreasonable
obstruction is one of the tests for whether a PSO or police officer can move
somebody on. The people who are sleeping under that viaduct may well, in the
context of this bill, cause unreasonable obstruction. They may offend people
because they are living in the public realm. This is where they live. I invite
any member to go over to the substation in Fitzroy Gardens at the back of this
Parliament House at lunchtime today, because what they see might offend them.
There will be homeless people sleeping around that substation tonight. Members
may find that offensive and an unreasonable obstruction. Indeed Victoria Police
could find that an unreasonable obstruction as well and move those people on,
but move them on to where? They have nowhere to go, and that is why they are
sleeping in parks.
That is why people are sleeping in vulnerable conditions underneath the viaduct
at Enterprize Park.
The bill is completely unreasonable. It is unjustified that this piece of
legislation is before the Parliament. It will deleteriously impact upon the most
vulnerable people in our community. I refer not only to homeless people but also
to my friends in the Aboriginal community, who also live in the public realm
because that is how they choose to congregate. Smith Street is a major
connection point for members of Aboriginal communities moving through Melbourne
and seeking to link up with relatives and friends. There is absolutely the
potential that someone will create an unreasonable
obstruction #match28" id="match27">#FF0000">and the police will be able to move them on.
I submit that this piece of legislation is deeply rooted in the most
conservative elements of this government. It is a shameful piece of legislation.
It seeks to vilify #match29" id="match28">#FF0000">and criminalise organised labour in this state, which is a
shameful thing. Indeed it has the real potential to inflict very severe harm on
the most marginalised in our community -- people who live their lives in the
public realm. Shame upon the government!
Dr SYKES (Benalla) -- I rise to contribute to the second-reading debate on the
#match30" id="match29">#FF0000">Summary #match30" id="match29">#FF0000">Offences #match30" id="match29">#FF0000">and #match30" id="match29">#FF0000">Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013. I wish to make it very
clear that I strongly endorse the bill. It is yet another plank in our
government bringing law #match31" id="match30">#FF0000">and order to Victoria #match31" id="match30">#FF0000">and delivering what most people
want -- that is, to be able to feel safe in our community #match32" id="match31">#FF0000">and go to work safely.
We have heard the rhetoric from those on the other side. Crouching Tiger pounced
today. After a series of insipid performances, the member for Lyndhurst launched
into a tirade that was high on emotion, passion and rhetoric but out of touch
with what most Victorians want. As I said, most Victorians want to be free from
dangerous and threatening situations. They want to be able to walk the streets
and go to work without threats to their safety. They do not want taxpayers
dollars to be wasted on controlling violent protesters, and they do not want law
enforcement officers to be put at risk of injury as a result of the unruly and
at times absolutely disgraceful behaviour of some protesters.
The member for Caulfield drew on some examples, and I encourage people to read
his contribution in Hansard, because it is quite clear that a number of these
protests have been expensive to deal with and that serial offenders -- people
who continually break the law -- have been identified.
I think it was the member for Prahran who indicated that under the current laws
there are problems with bringing those people to justice. We saw the Leader of
the Opposition standing shoulder to shoulder with the Construction, Forestry,
Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). At the same time, through the media and other
means, the outrageous, illegal behaviour of members of the CFMEU has been
exposed -- --
Honourable members interjecting.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! We listened to the member for Monbulk, and now he
should listen to the member for Benalla.
Dr SYKES -- The people I represent have had a gutful of this sort of
behaviour. They strongly endorse the action being taken by the Liberal-Nationals
coalition government. I also reject the assertion -- --
Honourable members interjecting.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! Interjections are part of debates, but the
language has to be appropriate for Parliament. The calling of names across the
chamber will not be tolerated.
Dr SYKES -- Thank you, Deputy Speaker, for that welcome protection. The member
for Lyndhurst's opening assertion that this legislation will potentially
criminalise all forms of protest in Victoria is outrageously out of touch with
the reality. I reiterate that people who protest peacefully will continue to
have that right -- that right will be protected.
On the subject of protesting, I note that previous members have referred to a
role I have played in protesting, in particular my role in the Plug the Pipe
We protested peacefully, and yet members of the then Labor government referred
to us as 'ugly, ugly people', 'quasi-terrorists' and a 'sorry bunch of people'.
Just to make it clear that that is not a figment of my imagination or a
reflection of the passing of years, my staff checked with the parliamentary
library this morning. The library came back with the following information to
validate the statement I just made:
- Peter Batchelor first referred to the pipeline protesters as ugly, ugly people
when they were brought into the gallery on 5 February 2008 ...
Mr Holding referred to The Nationals as a 'sorry bunch of people' and that the
protesters had 'quasi-terrorist threats' on 21 November 2007 ...
That is documented. It is a fact that those on the other side, who at this stage
say they are going to stand up and purport to represent the people, made those
outrageous accusations against people protesting legally. Of course, as history
has shown, the Labor Party was thrown out of office. The former Labor Premier
resigned, as did the former member for Thomastown and the former member for
Lyndhurst. And of course our government plugged the pipe.
We can also refer to a more recent protest experience, where under the existing
legislation it would be fair to say that I and, I believe, some members of the
opposition may have felt unnerved when we were seeking to go from Parliament
House to the Windsor Hotel. Members of Parliament in the state of Victoria
were seeking to cross from this building to the Windsor Hotel to participate in
a function being conducted by members of the Jewish fraternity. We had to
assemble in this place and walk across that street surrounded by a cordon of
police -- police on either side -- and three police horses leading the way. I
felt uncomfortable about that, and I observed protesters attempting to injure
those horses and in the process making MPs of this state feel threatened. This
legislation is about protecting the rights of the majority of Victorians and
enabling peaceful protest but saying that violence, threatening behaviour and
serial offending are things we have had enough of and that those involved should
Moving on to the alcohol-exclusion orders, this is again sensible legislation.
We have all heard of the consequences of alcohol-fuelled violence. Like many
others, I have personal knowledge of it.
One my footy teammates, Terry Keenan, was in a pub celebrating a football
victory in the Goulburn Valley and as a result of someone being affected by
alcohol he was king hit. He went down and as a result suffered severe brain
damage. Ultimately his life support was turned off. I should say that in that
case the person who allegedly threw the punch was not found guilty, but it is an
example of a situation where alcohol-fuelled violence resulted in tragic
consequences. I and many others miss our good mate TK.
This legislation is about toughening up on people who are perpetrators of
alcohol-fuelled violence. It will enable exclusion orders to ensure that these
sorts of things are limited. It is part of an overall package where we seek to
provide the legislative ability to toughen up on people. However, in cases of
alcohol-fuelled violence and protesting it is about producing a cultural change,
getting acceptance of that and as a community rejecting the idea that
alcohol-fuelled violence is okay.
It is about rejecting the idea that there is a need to get fully tanked and then
do things that are unacceptable. It is about rejecting non-peaceful protest.
I imagine many of us have travelled to other parts of the world where people do
not enjoy the democracy we have. They realise that what we have here is special
and needs to be protected. That is why we are putting in place legislation that
further addresses the issue of alcohol-fuelled violence but importantly also
protects the right of people to protest peacefully. It absolutely rejects the
ability of people to be violent and disgraceful and to put people at risk and
cost taxpayers money. It is totally unacceptable behaviour in our democracy.
Ms GARRETT (Brunswick) -- It is with great passion that I rise today to speak
on this draconian and disgraceful piece of legislation that has been put before
Having heard a passionate contribution from the member for Benalla about the
Plug the Pipe protest and the journey those people went on and having seen the
passion on the member for Seymour's face, as we stand here it is worth noting
how people feel when there is something that strikes at the heart of their
community -- when they are concerned that something is going to destroy or
impact negatively on their community. In such cases people come together,
organise and stand up for the rights of that community.
It is very similar to the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, which
has to have a funeral plan offered to its members because so many people die on
building sites. That is why it gets so passionate about occupational health and
It is so relevant to members of the Maritime Union of Australia, which lost an
entire generation of people because they loaded asbestos off the wharfs, day in,
day out, and which stood with Bernie Banton when the James Hardie company tried
to get out of this country without paying for its obligations and when there
were thousands of people protesting in the streets about that issue. We on this
side of the house, and we hope those on the other side of the house, feel pretty
passionate about those issues. Clearly we feel that people have the right to
come together to organise and stand up for occupational health and safety and
stand up for just compensation when people are injured or die at the hands of
We in this place operate under a solemn covenant with the people of Victoria. We
are given a great privilege to make laws -- to debate laws and pass them. That
covenant means that we must stand here and protect the rights and freedoms of
the citizens of this state, particularly those who have a small voice.
This must be done especially when it is inconvenient, politically embarrassing
or hard for those who hold the reins of power, because to fail to do so is to
break the covenant the government makes with Victorians to look after their
rights and their freedoms.
To go back to the Plug the Pipe protests, these clearly caused the former
government a considerable amount of political pain. They were embarrassing,
difficult and hard to manage, but the former government did not introduce
legislation to take away the right of those people to protest. The former
government understood that people have the right to protest, particularly when
it is embarrassing and inconvenient to government.
This Parliament has a responsibility to ensure that the checks and balances that
remain in our democracy are upheld. Hard-fought freedoms and rights can be torn
away in an instant, and that is what this legislation does. This legislation
gives police an extraordinary and unchecked power to move protesters on if they
suspect the protesters have committed an offence, if there is a reasonable
apprehension of violence, if a protester is likely to cause an unreasonable
obstruction to others or is impeding or attempting to impede any person from
lawfully entering or leaving premises or part of premises. These are huge,
sweeping, discretionary, unfettered powers that will apply to all protests.
- An honourable member interjected.
Ms GARRETT -- Read the legislation. In the checks and balances of our
democracy we do not allow this Parliament to have unfettered -- --
Mr Burgess interjected.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! The member for Hastings will get his turn.
Ms GARRETT -- We have courts and tribunals which are independent from
government and which are there to ensure that the rights and freedoms of
citizens are protected and are not subject to the whims of the government of the
day. It is always tempting for any government to come in here and hack into
those rights and freedoms because it is politically inconvenient and
embarrassing for those rights and freedoms to be upheld. People who stand up and
say, 'We dislike decisions of this government' cause the government pain, so no
doubt it is always tempting for members on that side of the chamber to squash
that sort of dissent. But a test of true character for those who hold the reins
of power is that they do not give in to that temptation, that they understand
there is a broader matter of principle and a broader responsibility and that
they are custodians in this place of democracy, which as we know is a fragile
beast and can be trampled on and dismantled very quickly.
We have had some very passionate contributions. The Deputy Leader of the
Opposition spoke at great length and with great measure about what has happened
in his community regarding the proposed McDonald's in Tecoma. We have talked
about what has happened with nurses protesting and having thousands of people in
the street protesting about health issues. We have talked about paramedics and
the ambulance crisis that is crippling this state.
Time and again people have to take to the streets to have their point heard and
to ensure that the broader community understands these issues. We have had
protests by taxi licence holders and teachers, and we have had anti-fracking
protests in regional Victoria. These are all important, precious expressions of
our democratic rights, and they are vehicles by which people can achieve change
when things are wrong. Let us face it: no government has all the answers. No
government under our democratic system should be able to dictate everything.
This is a vibrant democracy with those checks and balances.
This gets back to this government's obsession with the union movement. We have a
fundamental right as citizens in this country to have freedom of association,
and there is a reason we have this right. It has been a hard-fought -- --
Honourable members interjecting.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! If the members for Monbulk and Gembrook wish to
continue their conversation, they can take it outside the chamber.
Ms GARRETT -- It has been a hard-fought right, because for many centuries
those without bargaining power were exploited and treated appallingly. They came
together collectively to organise, to address the power imbalance and to demand
proper terms and conditions of employment. This is a noble, fundamental right.
It is a fundamental right for those workers who are given the benefit of that
It is a fundamental tenet of our democratic system that we have checks and
balances, that the powerful members of our community do not always have the
final voice, and that people can stand together and say, 'This is unacceptable.
We demand outcomes that benefit the collective, the whole or more than just
those who hold the reins of power or the reins of money'. This is what is so
deeply disturbing about this legislation. It gives so much unfettered and
unchecked power to police to move people on, and not just move them on but to
take their names. They can be in a book for 12 months. Shut it down!
This is not said lightly by members on this side of the house, but this
legislation is similar to that introduced by a former Premier of Queensland, Joh
Bjelke-Petersen, whereby if two people were together, it was an unlawful
association. This is a very slippery slope that will impact dramatically on the
rights of all of our citizens. Those of us who have lived in Queensland or know
people there are aware of the dark days when civil liberties and rights -- --
Mr Pakula interjected.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! The member for Lyndhurst should listen to the
member for Brunswick.
Ms GARRETT -- We stand here proudly as a party united with our brothers #match33" id="match32">#FF0000">and
sisters in the trade union movement. We stand here proudly with the citizens of
Victoria who want the right to be able to call on this government to change its
legislative agenda #match34" id="match33">#FF0000">and to implement policies to protect their communities. We do
so with passion #match35" id="match34">#FF0000">and pride. If we are elected in November, this legislation will
be repealed. We call on this government to reflect on its covenant with the
Victorian people. Once again we are here debating an absolute breach of that
covenant. Those opposite should hang their heads in shame.
Mr WATT (Burwood) -- I rise to speak on the Summary #match36" id="match35">#FF0000">Offences #match36" id="match35">#FF0000">and #match36" id="match35">#FF0000">Sentencing
Amendment Bill 2013. I have sat here for the whole debate #match37" id="match36">#FF0000">and listened to the
empty rhetoric from those on the other side. The member for Brunswick has been
the only one on the other side who has provided any real substance or has not
The member for Brunswick has quite clearly put it out there and she has exposed
why those on the opposite side are so opposed to this bill. I think I heard the
words 'union', 'CFMEU' and 'brothers and sisters' scattered throughout the
speech. It was all about the masters of those on the other side who are pulling
the strings, organising their preselections, deciding who comes into this place
and deciding what they will say. It is all about those on the other side who are
dancing to the tune of their masters, and that is why they are so opposed to
Honourable members interjecting.
I will put it simply, because there are many on this side of the house who want
to contribute to this very important bill, the #match7" id="match6">#FF0000">Summary #match7" id="match6">#FF0000">Offences #match7" id="match6">#FF0000">and #match7" id="match6">#FF0000">Sentencing
Amendment Bill 2013. I will confine my comments to 5 minutes. This bill is
nothing more than a Trojan Horse ridden by the ghost of Joh Bjelke-Petersen. I
remember the times of Joh Bjelke-Petersen. I remember the flight of many
Queenslanders who got caught up in peaceful, legitimate protests on the streets
at a time when not even five people could congregate without breaking the law
because of the conservative bent of an illegitimate government in Queensland.
This bill stinks of that.
I remind the house of the legitimate protests of ordinary Victorians that have
occurred and will continue to occur, whether it is a single Victorian, such as
the one who has been sleeping on the steps of Parliament for weeks on end now,
or hundreds and thousands of Victorians who want to legitimately express a view
about whatever it is that is of concern to them -- government policy, opposition
policy or whatever it might be. They all have a right to protest and they should
not be exposed to the type of draconian legislation that we are now sadly
debating in this house. I am proud to be a member of an opposition that has
declared unequivocally that in the event of its winning the election in November
it will repeal this insidious legislation.
Let me remind the house of the kinds of protests that this bill will seek to
scuttle. Taxi licence holders protested peacefully late last year outside the
office of a member for Northern Metropolitan Region in the Council.
The member called the police on that peaceful protest of family members who,
under this government, were going to lose their livelihood and perhaps their
house. That is the attitude of this government. Is it any wonder that today we
are confronted by this bill and this insidious Trojan Horse, which will allow
this government to take action in relation to protests by ordinary Victorians?
Many Victorians do not have access to the ears of government through any means
other than their own voices and their own presence. They seek to collectively
take a stand for what they believe is right. Whether I agree with them or not,
whether the government agrees with them or not, everyone has the right to do
that. It may be taxi licence holders or it may be textile, clothing and footwear
workers who are losing their jobs marching down the street. It may be people
like my mother, who did that. It may be people disputing a pipeline. You only
have to ask the previous Minister for Water about how peaceful some of those
protests were. This bill will mute every single one of those protests.
That is what the government is attempting to do today. The objective of this
bill is to demonise organised voices that come together with a common belief to
exercise a democratic right in between elections.
This is what democracy is about. Those on the other side pretend that this is
somehow about letting ordinary people get on with the business of everyday life.
I will stand up to my death to protect and preserve the rights of people to
voice their opinions, whether I believe in those opinions or not. Many people in
the 1970s and 1980s, and even up until the 1990s, protested on the streets
against nuclear war and the build-up of nuclear weapons. Those were legitimate
voices, whether I agreed with them or not -- which I happened to do. That was
legitimate protest, and this bill cuts through and ignores all of those
I ask this government whose voices it wants to hear in between elections.
Does it want to just hear the voices at the business lunches it has, where
people can buy
access and have their voices heard through lobbyists? If government members
think that is sufficient to ensure a viable, thriving democracy, then they have
sorely misunderstood their role in government and the importance and
pre-eminence of citizens -- of every Victorian, whether as a lone voice or as
part of a collective of 100 000 people -- to be able to exercise their rights
and protest against any decision at any time peacefully, legitimately and with
Members of this government will rue the day they start applying this law to
people who have a legitimate concern and are under suspicion at the whim of an
authorised officer. They might be mothers who are crying over the deaths of
their sons because of ambulance delays, they might be taxi licence holders or
they might be workers at Golden Circle. This week 120 workers at Golden Circle
are on a picket line because this government is failing the manufacturing
This government has been happy to not say even one word in support of those
workers in Mill Park whose factory is closing down in March with the loss of 120
jobs to Queensland. Theirs is a legitimate protest because this government has
no plan to save jobs. These are the voices of people in my community for whom I
will advocate #match8" id="match7">#FF0000">and support their right to express their protest to the death.
Members of this government should be ashamed of themselves.
Ms KANIS (Melbourne) -- The member for Ferntree Gully ranted at us for 10
minutes about unions and what we will and will not do. He has now left the
chamber, but let me clarify Labor's position on this bill. Labor will oppose the
bill. We oppose the bill because it amounts to criminalisation of all forms of
protest in this state. I emphasise the word 'all'. In our view the bill is
draconian, antidemocratic and unnecessary.
What is also awful about this bill is the fact that it is a cynical, tricky and
unworthy wedge device. The government has combined the move-on powers in the
bill with its alcohol-exclusion order provisions.
While we believe the alcohol-exclusion provisions are unworkable and
unenforceable, they are not offensive to us. We are calling on the government to
split the bill. If the bill is split, as the member for Lyndhurst outlined in
his contribution, we will vote for the alcohol-exclusion provisions that make up
part 3 of the bill. However, we defend the right of Victorians to protest. We
oppose the move-on powers contained in the bill, and if elected, we will repeal
The member for Ferntree Gully in his contribution was waving papers around and
yelling at us, but he did not
talk about the bill in any depth or detail at all. The bill increases the scope
and breadth of police move-on powers and substantially narrows the current
exceptions to these powers that protect protest, freedom of expression and
freedom of assembly. The bill also introduces exclusion orders that can be made
against specific individuals banning them from attending particular public
places if a certain number of move-on orders have been made against them in a
specific period of time.
Currently a member of the police force or a protective services officer (PSO) on
duty at a designated place can give a direction to a person or a group of people
in a public place to leave that public place, but the move-on powers currently
in law have exceptions. The bill increases the situations in which a move-on
direction can be given. It empowers police or PSOs to request that a person or a
group of people move on in a whole range of situations.
This is what we in the Labor Party find so objectionable, because in our view
these powers make all forms of protest in Victoria potentially unlawful.
The current legislation says that move-on powers do not apply to people who,
alone or in a group, are picketing a place of employment, demonstrating or
protesting about a particular issue, or speaking, bearing or otherwise
identifying with a banner, placard or sign, or otherwise behaving in a way that
is apparently intended to publicise the person's view about a particular issue.
The changes made by this bill would limit these exceptions. The practical
implication of this is that a protest exemption to the move-on powers would no
longer apply in picket or blockade situations.
In our view these changes would mean that protest action that attempts to more
directly achieve protest objectives, through picketing or blockading entrances
in particular, will be subject to move-on powers and the provisions which allow
for arrests for breaching move-on directions will lead to an increased
criminalisation of all such forms of protest.
We have heard a lot of discussion from the other side about unlawful protest.
This bill increases the gamut of what an unlawful protest is. In our view that
is not acceptable. In Victoria and in any democracy people have a right to
peacefully and forcefully express their views. It is quite interesting that this
bill is being brought in at a time when this government is facing more and more
protest on the streets about its agenda. We are seeing the rise of community
action against this government because the community is so disgusted with what
is happening. It is telling that this bill attacks the basic democratic right to
I would like to read a quote from a submission by the Flemington and Kensington
Community Legal Centre to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee in
relation to this bill because it articulates what is at stake. The submission
- Where violence or aggression has occurred during protest activity --
and I emphasise this --
- police already have an array of offences available to charge if they deem
- Victoria is free from the sorts of political violence associated with less
free, more authoritarian and non-democratic countries elsewhere.
- We have [been] successful in balancing concerns about disruptions and violence
during protests with the right to freedom of movement, freedom of expression,
peaceful assembly and freedom of association so far in Victoria.
- Non-violent interventions in all their forms are the last form of protest
action for Victorian citizens who feel that, according to their conscience and
beliefs, they need to make a stand and put their bodies, as it were, 'on the
- We may not agree with all of the reasons for a particular protest and we can
argue the facts back and forth as any good democratic society should. But
generally, and as history has most often proven, they are good and courageous
people, and if we criminalise the option of intervening in an injustice
occurring, we reduce the role of these brave people throughout our history who
have dared stand up to greed, destruction, injustice or exploitation.
In my view the Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre in its
submission captures the danger of this bill. We are a free and democratic
society in Victoria, and we do not want to see the struggles that occur in
societies in which people are restricted from protesting. This bill goes too
We have all been inconvenienced by protests, student occupations, rallies or
protest marches through our streets, but this bill suggests that inconvenience
is too great a price to pay. I put it to you, Acting Speaker, that that
inconvenience is a good price to pay for a community and a society that allows
people to express their views. That temporary inconvenience is something we need
for people to have their voices heard. It is okay for us here in Parliament; we
can get up, say what we like and have our voices heard, but many people in our
community do not have that opportunity. The only thing they can do is protest.
To restrict protests in this way attacks the democratic basis of our community,
and that is why we do not support these move-on powers. Let me be absolutely
clear: we will repeal these move-on powers when we are elected to government.
Ms HUTCHINS (Keilor) -- I rise to speak on the Summary #match19" id="match18">#FF0000">Offences #match19" id="match18">#FF0000">and #match19" id="match18">#FF0000">Sentencing
Amendment Bill 2013. Labor will be opposing this bill because, quite frankly, it
amounts to the criminalisation of organised labour. The government's intent is
to stop democratic processes going forward. Government members do not want to
hear when someone is objecting. They do not want to have people on the streets
objecting to their cuts #match20" id="match19">#FF0000">and changes.
They want to shut things down so that those who want to have a say will feel
threatened by the law through the clauses proposed in this bill. Previous
speakers have called on the government to split the bill into two parts so that
the alcohol-exclusion provisions can be dealt with separately. However, as
previous speakers on the other side of the house have indicated, the government
does not intend to do that. It wants to tie up all of these issues to hide the
fact that it wants to stop the right of Victorians to protest.
The move-on laws are absolutely objectionable to us, as they should be to
members of any democratic state. The bill extends the circumstances in which
people can be directed to move on, and it applies some of these circumstances to
previously excluded persons such as protesters.
Under these laws a protective services officer or a police officer has the power
to move on protesters under threat of arrest if they merely suspect on
reasonable grounds that the person has either committed an offence in that
place, is causing a reasonable apprehension of violence to another person, is
causing or is likely to cause an unreasonable obstruction to others, is present
for the purpose of procuring or supplying drugs, or is attempting to impede any
person from lawfully entering or leaving a premises or parts of a premises.
Some of the speakers on the other side of the house have talked about applying
common sense. We already have laws in place to deal with all of those situations
which police have the right to act on. What the government really wants to do is
shut down the voices
of common people who want to exercise their right to protest.
Those opposite say, 'Let us apply common sense to these situations'. I draw the
house's attention to a common-sense example. Over summer there was a protest in
the suburb of Taylors Hill in my electorate. In fact it was a protest that
affected my family. My brother came home from work and he could not enter his
house. The protest involved about eight kids who live on his street. They had
blockaded his door with bikes and were chanting, 'Set Gus free' -- Gus being my
nephew, who was banned from playing with kids on the street. They were there
protesting for an hour. If those opposite want to talk about common sense, I
would ask them if the purpose of this bill is to stop kids such as those in
Taylors Hill from protesting against parents' decisions to stop a kid from
playing? In common-sense terms, if this bill passes, that is the sort of protest
that could be stopped. That is the sort of protest where police could move in.
The police could ask such kids for their names and addresses, and they could
actually fine them $720 for breaching this law. That is how absolutely
ridiculous these laws are. No common sense is being used. Currently the
government wants to market this provision to Victorians as a bill that is about
drug dealing, violence and unlawful protest, but really the scope is much wider.
I think my example of the kids protesting in the streets of my electorate over
the right of their friends to have a play goes to the core of how ridiculous
this bill is. The government wants to shut people down for having their say.
I have been a unionist since the day I started work, and I have never attended
so many rallies as I have in the last 12 months, out in front of this place and
in the streets of Melbourne -- people using their right to protest against the
cuts this government has put in place.
Mr Watt interjected.
Ms HUTCHINS -- No, what you want to do as a government is shut down the right
of people to speak, shut down the right of nurses to protest and shut down the
rights of teachers, health workers, disability workers and taxidrivers -- they
are all the people whose voices you want to shut down when they disagree with
what the government is doing to their wages and conditions and the provision of
services they put in place. That is what this is about -- shutting down
democracy and people's voices -- and it is an absolute disgrace.
We have heard government members opposing the rights of unionists to protest
even when they have legal protection in the process of workplace bargaining --
even when they can be out there demonstrating. It is a direct attack on the
democratic rights and freedoms of people, and I quote Elizabeth O'Shea, a lawyer
with Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, who has represented not only a whole range of
asylum seekers in courts of law but also the protesters from Tecoma. She said:
- This is a direct attack on democratic freedoms that people have historically
fought hard to protect. It effectively criminalises a range of behaviours that
are fundamental to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.
It is a freedom that I fought hard for many years to defend and will continue to
fight hard to defend in this place. I am proud to say that my history is steeped
in the actions of being able to protest against any government changes that may
affect workers' lives.
In 1998 a waterfront dispute here in Melbourne led to a three-week protest at
Webb Dock in which I was very involved, negotiating day in, day out with
Victoria Police at the time to ensure that that was a peaceful protest.
Mr Burgess -- Negotiating with the police?
Ms HUTCHINS -- I was negotiating for peaceful protests to proceed over three
weeks of protests at the waterfront, and I have to say it was a peaceful protest
during that time. The 1400 workers who were sacked from their jobs and were
fighting for the right to be reinstated ended up having the law on their side
after that protest. Through the Federal Court and the High Court they were found
to be acting in a lawful way to protect their jobs, and the actions of collusion
by both the company and the federal government at the time were found to be
unlawful. That dispute is part of Victorian and Australian history now, and it
demonstrates just how peaceful protest can bring about change and a better
The move-on powers in this bill are draconian, they are Bjelke-Petersen in style
and they mean we have set off down a slippery slope. They infringe the vital
rights that exist in a free democracy, and they infringe the right to protest.
Labor will defend the right of Victorians to protest.
We will oppose these move-on powers, we will oppose this bill #match21" id="match20">#FF0000">and, when we are
elected in November, we will repeal this legislation.
Mr BROOKS (Bundoora) -- It is a real pleasure to join in this debate on the
#match29" id="match28">#FF0000">Summary #match29" id="match28">#FF0000">Offences #match29" id="match28">#FF0000">and #match29" id="match28">#FF0000">Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013.
At the very outset I want to clarify and repeat the point that has been made by
the lead speaker and other members on this side of the house that the opposition
does not oppose part 3 of this bill, which relates to alcohol-exclusion orders.
If the government were to split this bill, we would support that part of the
bill through the house. We think it is a cynical ploy that the government has
attached that part to the remainder of the bill that relates to the move-on
powers at this point, because otherwise we would have
been able to have that alcohol-exclusion order part of the bill moved through
the house without dissension.
The remainder of this bill deals with the move-on powers that have been central
to the debate in the chamber today, and it has become very clear from listening
to the contributions of members opposite that this bill is all about the unions.
It has become very clear. The Attorney-General in introducing this bill did not
mention unions, but it has become very clear that members of the government have
not been able to help themselves today. They have been frothing at the mouth and
falling over themselves to speak, to condemn unions, to run out their lines
about the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and to tell
all of the horror stories they like to trot out under the cover of parliamentary
privilege. But we have seen the real reason that this bill has been brought into
I think they would have been much better off to have been up-front with the
Victorian public and specifically said that this bill is about curbing union
power. If that is the case that people have been making today, that is what they
should have said from the outset. They should be up-front with people.
I would have thought a bill that contained so much restriction on people's
freedoms, whether you agree with the restrictions or not, would have been
adequately covered, explored and discussed in the Scrutiny of Acts and
Regulations Committee (SARC) report. I would have thought that that committee,
considering the important role it plays, would have given this matter serious
discussion and provided members of this house with a thorough explanation and
discussion of the issues, in particular addressing the submissions that were
made to that committee. I went to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee
Alert Digest No. 1 of 2014 and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities
report is restricted to three small paragraphs.
It concludes with the words, 'The committee makes no further comment'.
Interestingly I gather from the minutes there was a difference of opinion on the
committee because there was a vote that indicates that government MPs on this
matter decided to vote in favour of the report that went into the Alert Digest
and the Labor members voted against it. I can only assume from that that there
was a disagreement at SARC about the content of this report. It is a very brief
report. It is symptomatic of this very issue where a government is trying to
shut down debate and lawful protest. It shut down proper discussion of this bill
in the duly constituted committee process of this Parliament. It is an absolute
sham. SARC is not functioning properly.
Members of this house on both sides rely upon the Scrutiny of Acts and
Regulations Committee to provide it with the information the house needs to be
able to debate legislation properly, and we have heard contributions from
members opposite who do not understand parts of this bill and do not understand
the concerns about it. It is impossible to respond to the concerns that have
been raised in the community if you have not had the benefit of a SARC report
that explains what those concerns are. As I said, even if at the end of that
process you disagree with the report or those views, SARC should provide a full
If we go back to the last substantial changes to the Summary Offences and
Controlled Weapons Acts Amendment Bill in 2009 when Labor was in government, we
see that the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee published a fulsome
report in its Alert Digest No. 14 of 2009.
The report ran for some 14 pages, with 7 pages of discussion on the impacts on
the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. It is obvious that this
government, through the SARC process, has shut down any proper discussion of
these matters, despite a submission -- not from labour movement organisations,
not from unions, not from the CFMEU but from the Law Institute of Victoria --
- The legal effect of this bill, if enacted in its current form, would be to
limit the ability of individuals and groups to assemble and protest in public.
The Law Institute of Victoria said that. This is not the CFMEU or some union;
this is the Law Institute of Victoria. That is a fact that this government has
chosen to ignore, and it does so at its own peril.
The Victorian Council of Social Service also expressed concern about the bill's
- ... on vulnerable groups who are highly visible in public spaces --
this is in relation to the impact of potential move-on orders --
- including homeless people, people with mental health and drug and alcohol
issues, Aboriginal people and young people.
Similar concerns were expressed by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human
Rights Commission. Its submissions to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations
Committee inquiry and to the government were ignored, and I think that is a
The main concern I have with this bill, and which I share with members on this
side of the house, is that the threshold test -- the low bar that needs to be
over -- for a police officer or a protective services officer (PSO) to move
someone on or to potentially arrest them is that they need to have a reasonable
suspicion that someone is likely to cause an unreasonable obstruction or a
reasonable suspicion that someone is attempting to impede someone else. That
could be just about anything. Just about anything anybody does could fall under
that definition. I want to come back to that point, but I think it says
something about this government that when the manufacturing sector in this state
is dying, jobs are leaving this state, the crime rate is up, TAFE is in crisis
and ambulances cannot get their patients into hospitals, this Parliament is
debating the shutting down of protest action. That is what we are debating in
this Parliament today. The Victorian people would like us to be debating the
issues that really affect them, not the curtailment of their rights to protest.
It is absolutely outrageous.
I suggest to the member for South Barwon that the people of Geelong do not want
their rights to protest curtailed but are more interested in jobs for the future
-- highly skilled, high-wage jobs in the local community. My advice to the
member for South Barwon is that he focus on providing jobs for his community.
As I said, the test the bill provides for a PSO or a police officer moving
someone on or arresting them would see people who gather on the front steps of
Parliament House moved on or arrested. Over the last three years we have seen
many people protesting against the mean-spirited character and incompetence of
this government. In June 2012 and February 2013 hardworking teachers in
Victorian schools -- people who we entrust our children's education to -- fought
not just for their wages and conditions but also against the cuts this
government made to their schools. Under this bill they could have and probably
would have been moved on or arrested.
TAFE staff who protested in Treasury Gardens in September 2012 also could have
been moved on or arrested because there was a reasonable suspicion they might
impede or obstruct others.
My colleague the member for Ivanhoe and I, along with other members representing
nearby electorates, gathered at a protest in Burgundy Street to force the
government to fund the last stage of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness
Centre. Would that protest have been shut down or people moved on under this
bill? The nurses -- people who care for the sick and frail in hospitals -- who
rallied on the front steps of Parliament House, not just for their own wages and
conditions but also against the cuts that this government had made to the health
system, would have been moved off the front steps of Parliament House and told
to move on or they would be arrested. Taxidrivers, firefighters and other
hardworking Victorians will have their rights taken away from them by this mean,
In my local community just a week ago a group of 50 residents gathered at a
small local park that the local council -- dominated by Liberals, as it happens
-- wants to flog off to developers. A former member for Eltham is on that
council #match30" id="match29">#FF0000">and is driving that process. I imagine that most of those present --
children, older people, mums #match31" id="match30">#FF0000">and dads -- would never have been in a union or
have attended a protest before. They would have been affected by this law --
they could have been moved on #match32" id="match31">#FF0000">and arrested if they did not move on. This law is
an absolute disgrace, #match33" id="match32">#FF0000">and it should not be accepted by this Parliament. As I
said, it impacts on all Victorians by restricting their rights #match34" id="match33">#FF0000">and freedoms. It
is a bad law introduced by a desperate, rotten government, #match35" id="match34">#FF0000">and it should be
Ms HALFPENNY (Thomastown) -- Firstly, I would like to repeat what has been said many times by members of the Labor Party. That is that we have consistently asked that this bill be split into two parts -- one to talk about how to deal with alcohol-fuelled violence, and the other to talk about people's democratic right to protest. There are already laws to deal with obstruction and interference with trade, and it is not necessary to have laws that go further than that. The bill we are talking about today provides for the arrest, jailing and fining of people who are merely protesting and upholding their right to protest. There are already laws to deal with all those other things.
This legislation talks about people's fundamental right to protest.
They also have a right to only be accused and found guilty of things they have actually done. This legislation provides police with the ability, if they think that maybe -- they are not quite sure, but maybe -- somebody might at some stage in the future do the wrong thing, to issue a notice to move that person on, just on the basis that a person may be doing something that a police officer may think is not the right thing to do. Again, there are laws to deal with a protester who is doing particular things, but they have to be things that the person has actually done, not simply things that they are alleged to have done. The matter then goes to court to determine whether in fact that person has committed an offence, rather than relying on the belief, suspicion or who knows what of a police officer who was at the protest.
This is a very undemocratic piece of legislation. It is not just about industrial relations protesters. It is not just about workers pursuing their rights.
It is also about other protesters, whether they be trying to preserve historic buildings or complaining about a big corporation that wants to ruin their community and their enjoyment of life. These are the things that people protest about, and they have a right to do so. We on this side of the house are opposed to any legislation that reduces the democratic right of people to protest. As has been stated previously, the Labor Party has committed to repeal this legislation if elected in November.
Dear Mr. Ronalds,
I write on behalf of the Victorian and Tasmanian branch of Sustainable Population Australia. We are most alarmed by the prospect of the Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill being passed by the Upper House of State Parliament.
We believe that this harsh legislation is completely unnecessary in a society which is continually being undermined and is struggling to maintain work and environmental standards. This legislation is a further and heavy blow to democracy placing ordinary citizens in a position of increased likelihood of coming up against the force of the law for simply using one of the few weapons left, the right to congregate to demonstrate a point.
This is of importance to our group as we are fighting to stabilise the population and to preserve our environment for future generations. This has involved attending public rallies for environmental causes. Governments need to be made aware of strong public opinion. The right for people to do this is in the interests of our shared future.
Please help to keep our democracy and vote “NO” when this legislation arises in the Upper House.
Jill Quirk, President , Sustainable Population Australia , Victorian and Tasmanian branch
P.O. Box 240 West Heidleberg 3081
Below are two speeches by Liberals arguing on behalf of the Bill. We have also published in another article, all the speeches we could find against the bill. Speeches against the Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill (Victorian Parliament)You should read these to see why this is a problematic bill. Two most powerful points that come across in the speeches below against the impending Act are that the Labor Party was willing to go along with the Act regarding greater powers for arresting people who are intoxicated and dangerous. A related motion to divide the Act into two was unfortunately defeated. The Liberal Party lawmakers were accused of rolling this one reasonable change together with an unreasonable change to the Sentencing Act. The Second powerful point against the impending Act was that it is designed to stop unions from impeding the hiring of scab labour. This seems to be true. Given that Workers' Conditions have been eroded since the Howard Government in conjunction with vast increases in numbers of worker immigrants, this question of scab labour is bound to come up more frequently and desperately in Victoria, as businesses close down, cost of living rises (power, housing, water etc) and employers seek to drive wages down. The Liberal Members response to this last point was to use arcane theoretical examples, such as pretending that those against the Act would be wanting to allow people to stop members of the public from buying chocolates from shopkeepers they did not like. Go here to read the speeches against the Bill and to see who voted for it or against it.
SUMMARY OFFENCES AND SENTENCING AMENDMENT BILL 2013
Introduction and first reading
Received from Assembly.
Read first time for Hon. E. J. O'DONOHUE (Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation) on motion of Hon. G. K. Rich-Phillips; by leave, ordered to be read second time forthwith.
Statement of compatibility
For Hon. E. J. O'DONOHUE (Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation), Hon. G. K. Rich-Phillips tabled following statement in accordance with Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006:
In accordance with section 28 of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006, (the 'charter act'), [Available here as a word doc and as a pdf file] I make this statement of compatibility with respect to the Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013.
In my opinion, the Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013, as introduced to the Legislative Council, is compatible with human rights as set out in the charter act. [CDB Editor: The clickable link gives you access to an extract of the actual 'rights'.] I base my opinion on the reasons outlined in this statement.
Overview of bill
The bill amends the Summary Offences Act 1966 by expanding the grounds on which police members and protective services officers (PSOs) 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 amends the Sentencing Act 1991 by creating a new alcohol-exclusion order that prohibits a person who has been convicted of a relevant offence, in circumstances where the person's intoxication was a significant contributing factor, from entering or consuming liquor in specified licensed premises in Victoria.
Human rights issues
Changes to move-on powers and the related exclusion orders
The bill expands the grounds on which the move-on powers under section 6 of the Summary Offences Act may be used. A person who is directed to move on from a public place by police members or PSOs must leave that public place and is prohibited from returning to it for up to 24 hours. The related exclusion orders also prohibit a person from entering a particular public place but for up to 12 months.
The amendments impose a limitation on an individual's right to move freely within Victoria as set out in section 12 of the charter act and may, in certain circumstances, limit the rights to freedom of expression (section 15),
["15. Freedom of expression
(1) Every person has the right to hold an opinion
(2) Every person has the right to freedom of
expression which includes the freedom to seek,
receive and impart information and ideas of all
kinds, whether within or outside Victoria and
(a) orally; or
(b) in writing; or
(c) in print; or
(d) by way of art; or
(e) in another medium chosen by him or her.
(3) Special duties and responsibilities are attached to
the right of freedom of expression and the right
may be subject to lawful restrictions reasonably
(a) to respect the rights and reputation of other
(b) for the protection of national security, public
order, public health or public morality."
and peaceful assembly and freedom of association (section 16).
["16. Peaceful assembly and freedom of association
(1) Every person has the right of peaceful assembly.
(2) Every person has the right to freedom of
association with others, including the right to form
and join trade unions."
However, for the reasons that follow these limitations are consistent with explicit or implicit internal limits on the rights or are reasonable and justified under section 7(2) of the charter act.
["7. Human rights—what they are and when they may
(1) This Part sets out the human rights that Parliament
specifically seeks to protect and promote.
(2) A human right may be subject under law only to
such reasonable limits as can be demonstrably
justified in a free and democratic society based on
human dignity, equality and freedom, and taking
into account all relevant factors including—
(a) the nature of the right; and
(b) the importance of the purpose of the
(c) the nature and extent of the limitation; and
(d) the relationship between the limitation and
its purpose; and
(e) any less restrictive means reasonably
available to achieve the purpose that the
limitation seeks to achieve.
(3) Nothing in this Charter gives a person, entity or
public authority a right to limit (to a greater extent
than is provided for in this Charter) or destroy the
human rights of any person."]
All of these charter act rights can be subject to restrictions, including to protect public order, public safety and the rights and freedoms of others. Section 15 contains an explicit internal limitation to this effect (section 15(3)), but the other sections may be implicitly limited in the same way (in accordance with the reasoning in Magee v. Delaney  VSC 407). In the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, from which each of these charter act rights is derived, there are express internal limitations for each of the rights in relation to measures that are necessary to protect public order, public health or morals, or the rights and freedoms of others (see article 12(3) on freedom of movement, article 19(3) on freedom of expression, article 21 on peaceful assembly and article 22 on freedom of association). Although these internal limitations do not appear in the relevant charter act rights, the internal limitations in the international covenant illustrate matters that may be considered to justify limitations on those rights in accordance with section 7(2).
The new grounds for the use of move-on powers are aimed at protecting public safety and order and the rights and freedoms of others. The grounds ensure there is an appropriate balance between the right to freedom of movement, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and freedom of association of one individual and the protection of the rights of others, including the rights of others to freedom of movement, privacy, property rights and security. These are important objectives that are sufficient to justify the bill's careful and safeguarded provisions and any limitations those provisions may impose on these charter act rights.
The bill includes a range of safeguards that minimise effects on the relevant charter act rights and ensure any limitation is reasonable. A police member or PSO may tailor a move-on direction as required. For example, a direction can be given in respect of an entire public place, or just part of that place.
The duration of the direction cannot exceed 24 hours and need not be for the full 24 hours.
The making of an exclusion order by a court is discretionary and the court must be satisfied that an order would be a reasonable means of preventing that person from continuing to behave in a manner that would be the basis for another move-on direction. The court can tailor the scope of the order. For example, it may determine the nature and extent of the public place that the order applies to, and the duration of the order. Similarly, new section 6E(5) of the Summary Offences Act enables the court to allow a person to enter a place to which the exclusion order applies for specified purposes
where it is appropriate. Exclusion orders may also be varied upon application where the court is satisfied it is appropriate.
There are also specific safeguards around the enforcement of move-on directions and the related exclusion orders. For example, a person does not commit the offence of contravening a move-on direction where he or she has a reasonable excuse for doing so. A similar exclusion applies to the offence of contravening an exclusion order.
Section 6(5) of the Summary Offences Act excludes the use of move-on powers based on the grounds set out in section 6(1)(a) and new section 6(1)(f) in relation to a person who is picketing a place of employment, demonstrating, protesting or publicising his or her view about a particular issue. That exception will no longer apply to the grounds in sections 6(1)(b) and (c) nor to the remaining four new grounds.
Those grounds are more closely related to unlawful conduct and a move-on power on those grounds should not be excluded simply because a person is engaged in picketing, protest or publicising a view. The application of these grounds in such circumstances will assist police in protecting the rights of others and maintaining public safety and order.
Power to require name and address
The bill creates a new power enabling police members and PSOs to require a person being directed to move on to provide their name and address. The right to privacy set out in section 13 of the charter act is relevant to this power. However, in my view this provision is compatible with the right to privacy as it is lawful and not arbitrary. Police will only be able to utilise this power where they intend to direct a person to move on.
This new power will enable police to keep track of when a person has been repeatedly moved on for the purposes of applying for a related exclusion order. It will also assist police in determining whether a person contravenes a move-on direction. The use and disclosure of that information would be subject to the usual protections under the Information Privacy Act 2000.
The bill inserts a new power into the Summary Offences Act, which provides that a police member or a PSO may, without warrant, arrest a person if the officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the person is or has committed an offence against section 6(4) of the Summary Offences Act (contravention of a move-on direction). In my view these provisions are compatible with the right to liberty as the grounds for arrest are clear and appropriate, and cannot be regarded as arbitrary.
Section 6(4) also provides safeguards that minimise interference with liberty by expressly limiting the reasons for which a person may be detained in custody.
Alcohol-exclusion orders prohibit a person from entering into a range of licensed premises including nightclubs, bars, restaurants, reception centres and major events. These orders limit the right to freedom of movement and are relevant to the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association.
Alcohol-exclusion orders are aimed at protecting public order and the rights and freedoms of others, including the right to life and the right to liberty and security of a person.
The orders may only be made after a person has been convicted by a court of a relevant offence and the court is satisfied that the offender's intoxication significantly contributed to the commission of the offence.
There is a clear and rational connection between the limitation on the right to freedom of movement and the purpose of the order. Before making an order, a court must be satisfied that the person was intoxicated at the time of the offending. Further, that intoxication must have significantly contributed to the offending. Thus, any person subject to an order has demonstrated through their offending that they are a risk to public safety when intoxicated. The alcohol-exclusion order will reduce that risk by ensuring the person cannot enter or consume liquor in many places where they could otherwise become intoxicated in public.
The effect of an alcohol-exclusion order reflects the significant contribution of alcohol to that offending. Applying the order to a narrower range of licensed venues could channel those subject to the order towards those licensed venues not covered by the order and thus place the public at those venues at risk. The strong, mandatory scheme provided for in this bill is also intended to provide a clear and powerful deterrent against others committing relevant offences. The deterrence of a discretionary scheme would be undermined by cases where an order is not made.
As with the move-on-related exclusion orders, there are safeguards to ensure alcohol-exclusion orders do not inappropriately limit other rights. Courts may create conditions where appropriate allowing a person to enter licensed premises for specified purposes. Such purposes might include employment, reaching accommodation, or attending particular events where appropriate.
Section 89DG allows a person subject to the order to apply for its variation throughout the duration of the order. Given this capacity to adjust alcohol-exclusion orders appropriately if justified by a person's individual circumstances, I do not consider that they create an unreasonable limitation on the right to freedom of movement when balanced with the important objectives of the orders, including public safety and protecting the rights of others.
Offences for contravening exclusion orders
New sections 6G of the Summary Offences Act and 89DF(1) and (2) of the Sentencing Act make it an offence to contravene a move-on-related exclusion order or an alcohol-exclusion order.
Sections 6G(3) and 89DF(4) have the effect of placing an evidential onus on the accused where the prosecution adduces proof that the accused was present in court when the order was made, or proof of service of the order on the person. The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law is relevant to these provisions. However, the right is not limited. Where the accused points to evidence that puts knowledge of the order at issue, the prosecution will still have a legal onus to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused knew or was reckless as to whether the order was in place.
Edward O'Donohue, MLC
Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation
Minister for Corrections
Minister for Crime Prevention
Ordered that second-reading speech be incorporated into Hansard on motion of Hon. G. K. RICH-PHILLIPS (Assistant Treasurer).
Hon. G. K. RICH-PHILLIPS (Assistant Treasurer) -- I move:
That the bill be now read a second time.
Incorporated speech as follows:
This bill makes important changes to the law to better protect the community from lawless behaviour on our streets and to deter and prevent alcohol-fuelled violence.
First, the bill amends the Summary Offences Act to give police clearer and more effective move-on powers and to create longer lasting exclusion orders.
Secondly, the bill delivers the government's election commitment to ban those convicted of alcohol-fuelled violence from licensed premises for two years.
Clearer and more effective move-on powers
Move-on powers provide police and PSOs with a useful tool for safeguarding the peaceful enjoyment of public spaces by all, as well as defusing situations that threaten public order and safety. Police and PSOs are currently able to direct people to move on from public places for a range of reasons. These include where they reasonably suspect that a person is breaching or is likely to breach the peace, or is endangering or is likely to endanger the safety of another.
The bill provides further grounds on which these powers may be used. Police and PSOs will be able to direct a person to move on from a public place if they suspect on reasonable grounds that a person:
has committed an offence in the place;
is causing a reasonable apprehension of violence to another person;
is causing, or is likely to cause, an unreasonable obstruction to others;
is present for the purpose of procuring or supplying drugs; or
is impeding, or attempting to impede, another person from lawfully entering or leaving premises or part of premises.
These new grounds will provide greater certainty for police members and PSOs as to when they may exercise move-on powers, and expand the range of circumstances in which such directions may be given.
Move-on powers may be applied in relation to one person or many.
The bill clarifies that police and PSOs may give one direction to an entire group rather than having individually to direct each person in the group to move on.
The bill continues to protect legitimate rights to lawful protest or demonstration, but it makes clear that if protesters go beyond legitimate expression of views and instead resort to threats of violence or seek to impede the rights of others to lawfully enter or leave premises, police will have the power to order those protesters to move on.
To this end, the bill provides that move-on powers may be used in respect of people engaged in picket lines, protests and other demonstrations. However, the existing ground relating to breach of peace and the new unreasonable obstruction ground will not apply in those situations.
These grounds are excluded because of the scope for dispute about their application in the context of demonstrations. Police will instead be able to rely on the impeding access ground and other grounds to deal with protesters who blockade or otherwise impede access to or from premises or who resort to threats of violence or to illegal conduct.
The bill will also improve the enforcement of move-on directions. For example, the bill expressly provides that police and PSOs may arrest a person who contravenes a move-on direction. The bill also assists the detection of such contraventions by providing that police may require a person being directed to move on to provide their name and address. Currently, police are unable to do this in many cases, making it difficult to detect contraventions of the move-on directions where the person returns a few hours later. This change will also enable police to keep a record of people who are repeatedly moved on.
Move-on-related exclusion orders
Move-on powers can keep a person away from a public place for up to 24 hours, but no more. Consequently, a person may return to the place and engage in the same conduct the very next day. This can be a particular issue where police know that people are returning to a certain area repeatedly, such as for the purpose of buying or selling drugs.
The bill addresses these situations by enabling police to apply to the Magistrates Court for an exclusion order against an individual.
The making of an exclusion order will be discretionary, and the court may only make an order if it is satisfied that:
a person has been repeatedly directed to move on from the same public place or part of a public place; and
an exclusion order would be a reasonable means of preventing that person from continuing to behave in a manner that would be the basis for another move-on direction.
If a court decides to make an exclusion order, it can specify a duration of up to 12 months. During that time a person will be prohibited from entering the public place specified in the order. However, the bill does allow the court to create conditions allowing a person to enter the place if there is a good reason for doing so and the court considers it appropriate in all the circumstances.
Once an exclusion order is in place, it will be an offence to contravene that order. The offence will carry a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.
These exclusion orders will give police a new tool for addressing low-level street drug dealing and for breaking up gangs that gather in public places to threaten people or engage in criminal behaviour.
The government made an election commitment to ban those found guilty of committing a violent offence while under the influence of alcohol from licensed premises for two years.
This bill makes amendments to the Sentencing Act 1991 to give effect to that commitment.
A high proportion of violent behaviour is caused by people who have had too much to drink. These measures will better protect the public from the recurrence of such behaviour and create a strong deterrent to the offender and to others.
Under the requirements, a court must make an alcohol-exclusion order where it is satisfied that:
a person has been convicted of a relevant offence;
the person was intoxicated at the time of the assault; and
the person's intoxication significantly contributed to the commission of the offence.
These orders will apply to most indictable offences against the person, ranging from homicides to intentionally causing injury, as well as to sexual assaults such as rape or indecent assault, and to offences such as threats to kill and assaulting police.
Alcohol-exclusion orders will prohibit the offender from entering specified licensed premises or consuming liquor in any licensed premises anywhere in Victoria for a period of two years. Where an offender goes to jail for their offence, the exclusion will apply from the time they are released from jail. Where an offender is sentenced to a community correction order of longer than two years, the court will be able to impose alcohol treatment conditions that will continue to operate after expiry of the alcohol-exclusion order.
The licensed premises from which persons are excluded are the same as those covered by alcohol-exclusion conditions made under a community correction order pursuant to section 48J of the Sentencing Act 1991. These include nightclubs and bars -- including pubs -- as well as licensed restaurants and cafes. Bar areas of other licensed premises will also be covered, including hotel bars and bars at sporting grounds and clubs. A person is also prohibited from entering major events covered by a relevant liquor license, such as the formula one grand prix.
Provision is made for the court on application to vary the exclusion conditions in circumstances where that is justified, such as where a person lives above licensed premises or works at licensed premises. A court may also allow a person to enter licensed premises for a specified purpose if there is a good reason and the court considers it appropriate. However, the courts cannot allow a person to drink on those premises.
Contravention of an alcohol-exclusion order will be an offence, carrying a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.
Alcohol-exclusion orders will send a clear message that drunken, violent behaviour will not be tolerated in Victoria and that those who engage in it will face significant consequences for their personal and social life, in addition to whatever other sentence they receive.
I commend the bill to the house.
Debate adjourned on motion of Ms MIKAKOS (Northern Metropolitan).