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Anti-Protest Legislation

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Tags: Anti-Protest Laws, Protest, Democracy

Anti-Protest Legislation: Cassy O'Connor, 27 November, 2019


Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Madam Speaker, what a farce tonight has turned into.

I have been in this place for 11 years, as I remind people every now and again, and never once have I seen a minister of the Crown get up after a second reading contribution from so many members in this House and so many questions asked by us on behalf of the people we represent, on behalf of people with serious and weighty legal expertise, on behalf of the Tasmanian Council of Social Services and on behalf of Unions Tasmania. It is a glaring demonstration of what a nasty joke this piece of legislation is.

The contempt with which the Liberals hold this place that you can have members in this place go through the legislation with considerable rigour. The Attorney-General, who has fled the Chamber, earlier accused members from the Greens and Labor of filibustering. Obviously she was not watching.

Madam SPEAKER - Ms O'Connor, I have advice that you are not allowed to reflect on the bill because you have not gone into committee.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you. I can reflect on what a political farce we have had to endure in this place today. The resources of this parliament, the apparatus of the state, have been misused and manipulated for base political purposes. It is a sign of how little substance this amendment bill has that today the Premier did not show his face, the Deputy Premier was nowhere to be seen. The Leader of Government Business would saunter in every now and then to see how the debate was going. He has no stamina, wants to go nighs-nighs. The Treasurer did not put in an appearance all today, as far as I can remember. The Attorney-General, the first law officer of this land, was undoubtably handed a copy of the SolicitorGeneral's advice in relation to the matter that we were discussing earlier. We did see Mr Barnett a fair bit. Mr Shelton was barely to be seen.

The support for the matter we were discussing earlier has come from the likes of Mr Tucker and Mrs Rylah who had their speeches written for them. There is no doubt about that. They laid out falsehood after falsehood. It is a farce. You came in here and you told manifest untruths. It was a lame performance from the Government today. The best they could do was wheel out the two Dorothys.

Not one minister got behind Mr Barnett today. Not one. They ran a mile. Obviously the Attorney-General did not want to hear what the Gilbert + Tobin Centre, or Dr Brendan Gogarty said, or the Tasmania Law Reform Institute or Community Legal Centres Tasmania or Civil Liberties Tasmania. The Attorney-General, the first law officer of the land, had no interest in hearing the legal opinion of this legislation. Did you say, Ms Standen, that she knows better? She does know better, apparently. Like mandatory minimum sentencing this is good law.

The most confronting episode today happened in this place about 10 minutes ago when there was a vote and a member who was elected on Labor votes came in here, without having contributed on the bill, and voted with the Liberals to make Tasmania a police state. It is breathtaking in its betrayal of the people of Clark. It is breathtaking in its contempt of the legal profession. Here we are, having fought all day to defend democracy in Tasmania and everyday Tasmanians, without seeing the Attorney- General and with a member who did not make a contribution betray her constituents.

Tomorrow we will go into Committee and go through every word, every clause . We will have to bring forward the submissions which have been ignored by the Government and the questions that came out of those submissions that we sought to have the minister answer.

Dr Woodruff and I will be here, if necessary, at this time on Friday morning so that we can properly scrutinise this legislation. The accusation of filibustering that came from the Attorney-General is galling when every day some limp piece of legislation is brought on for debate here. We have a conga-line of Dorothys filibustering their way through an incredibly tedious piece of legislation.

The best the Leader of Government Business and Mrs Rylah can do here is to make cute little jokes about the other side of the House. This legislation was demolished today. It was demolished on expert testimony and submissions. The Attorney-General could not defend it. Your minister implied that the Solicitor-General was cool with it, but I do not think so . What a disgrace and an abuse of power and the apparatus of the state, which you people manipulate on a daily basis.