Po­lice ‘dis­ap­pointed’ by de­lay on protest laws

Pilbara News - - News - Daniel Emer­son

Po­lice Minister Liza Har­vey says WA Po­lice will be dis­ap­pointed laws it wanted to clamp down on ex­treme protests have lit­tle hope of pass­ing in the re­main­ing seven weeks of the par­lia­men­tary term.

The Crim­i­nal Code Amend­ment (Pre­vent Un­law­ful Ac­tiv­ity) Bill was in­tro­duced to Par­lia­ment in Fe­bru­ary last year and passed the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil a year later.

Pitched by the Govern­ment as nec­es­sary to curb evolv­ing tac­tics, in­clud­ing thumb locks and other de­vices to lock on to ma­chin­ery and equip­ment, crit­ics claimed the Bill’s broad draft­ing would out­law rea­son­able protest ac­tiv­ity.

It cre­ated new crim­i­nal of­fences pun­ish­able by up to two years jail or a $24,000 fine for “phys­i­cally pre­vent­ing law­ful ac­tiv­ity” or pos­sess­ing any “thing” sus­pected to be used for that of­fence, re­versed the onus of proof and en­sured cost re­cov­ery for any po­lice re­sponse.

Mrs Har­vey said its pas­sage was “prob­a­bly un­likely with the par­lia­men­tary sched­ule that we have”.

“Po­lice will be dis­ap­pointed,” she said. “Ob­vi­ously that leg­is­la­tion was drafted at the re­quest of po­lice to as­sist them in man­ag­ing ex­treme protest law ac­tiv­ity.

“The leg­is­la­tion would have as­sisted po­lice in that.

“Thank­fully those kinds of protest ac­tions are quite rare in WA so as far as an im­pend­ing pri­or­ity, it’s prob­a­bly lower on the list than some of the other leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties that are be­fore us.”

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