A leading human rights group today joined a chorus of condemnation of new State Government laws that sharply cut the amount of time people may spend together.
Under the laws children as young as 14 may be given orders not to associate with others (Liberty Victoria notes that Police Minister Lisa Neville this morning discussed the potential application of the laws to a child as young as 11).
Liberty Victoria opposes these laws, as do the Federation of Community Legal Centres, Human Rights Law Centre, Victorian Council of Social Service and Fitzroy Legal Service.
Liberty Victoria president Jessie Taylor said, “The right of people to associate and go about peacefully is fundamental and must not be tampered with.”
Such laws have a bad record. When introduced in New South Wales two years ago they were found by the State Ombudsman to have been used in a way that was racially discriminatory.
An attempt to push through similar laws in Queensland led to the downfall of the Newman Government in 2015.
Ms Taylor said the public needs to know the full details of the proposed laws. “In a year in which the Andrews Government is facing the voters, it should be extremely careful about tampering with rights by bringing in frightening laws that lead to the 'crime' of guilt by association. I hold grave concerns that powers like these would be used against particular groups in the community who already feel the impact of police powers much more than others, even when there is no hint of wrongdoing on their part.”
For further comment or interviews please call Liberty Victoria on 03 9670 6422.