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Greens Urge MLCs to Amend Begging Bill

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Friday, 18 September 2020

Tags: Begging, Housing Crisis, Poverty, Parliament

The Greens urge MLCs to vote against the increased police ‘move on’ powers in Section 5 of the government’s Begging Bill. They are unnecessary and send a message contrary to what should be the intent of the bill.
The Greens were the only MPs to vote against the clause to add unnecessary powers when it was before the Lower House.
The Liberals only produced their legislation after voting against the Greens’ Bill in October 2018 that sought to eliminate an antiquated and discriminatory criminal offence.
The Police Offences Act 1935 already has sufficient powers to disperse people. The inclusion of additional provisions is not required. It’s in there to justify voting against the Greens’ original bill.
Adding extra powers sends the message that people who are begging are a nuisance, which is absolutely the wrong message to send during an economic and housing crisis.
Conservative virtue-signalling against the desperately poor has a disproportionate effect on the most marginalized and vulnerable members of society.

The responsible approach is to address poverty by helping those who are disadvantaged, not demonising them.
We hope Labor will reconsider their vote in House of Assembly and encourage all MLCs to vote against the ‘move on’ clause in the legislation to decriminalise begging.