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Human rights group Liberty Victoria applauds the Andrews government for taking a strong and principled stance on the right to die with dignity.
However, while welcoming that announcement, Liberty is dismayed at a recent flurry of announcements on justice reforms, which are reactionary, ill-considered and prone to gross abuse.
The government’s latest step to remove from judicial oversight the police force’s potential to abuse the taking of DNA samples is condemned.
Liberty president Jessie Taylor said, “The government is allowing its desire to appear strong on law and order prevail over sensible consultation, rigourous process and respect for the rule of law.
“Just as search warrants are a significant invasion of privacy, so too is taking someone’s DNA. There are already powers that exist for police to take DNA - by force if necessary - where it is justified. The current proposal would allow DNA to be taken by force from a child who is suspected of shoplifting. It is simply an unjustified over-reach.
Ms Taylor said that just having police approving other police to exercise power like this always ended badly. "There has to be independent oversight. Just as we have seen that police investigating police never works, it is likely that taking a suspect’s DNA will simply evolve into being standard at the end of an interview, with the threat of force, or the potential for greater punishment, if the person refuses.”
Ms Taylor said this poll-driven law and order frenzy does the government no favours. "The Victorian Labor government should look into its recent past for strong, principled public policy. Over-reach on "law and order" ultimately produces more crime, reduces public safety and costs the taxpayer.