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Police Offences Amendment (Prohibited Insignia) Bill 2018 - On Labor's Amendment

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Tags: Police

Ms O'CONNOR (Denison - Leader of the Greens) - Madam Speaker, I do not usually agree with the Leader of Government Business in the House but there are a number of points that he made there that are unarguable. We will not be supporting this amendment and it is clear that it was not written and presented to this House in the true desire to have it passed. We know that from the wording; we know that from the first clause: Labor supports giving police the tools they need to effectively target and disrupt organised crime, including OMCGs. Labor attempted to engage with the Premier prior to this debate - blah, blah, blah. Labor supports the intent of the bill? Well, Madam Speaker, do they? We do not actually know that.

Ms Woodruff made a strong contribution that laid out our reasons for not supporting this bill after close to three months of engaging with Tasmania Police in good faith - and thank you for those briefings and engaging with the minister and his office and suggesting some amendments, which were not accepted. We have the courage in here to stand by our position.

Labor again does what they do so often, and it is galling. They speak out of one side of their mouths and then do something entirely different. It happens all the time. We see it at the federal level on asylum seekers. The hypocrisy of Labor on refugees and asylum seekers is vomitous. The bleating of the Labor left - they go, 'Just let us get into government and then we'll do something about the poor people trapped on Manus and Nauru', and only last week voted to support the deportation of 1600 desperate asylum seekers who were caught up in a legal trap that started 10 years ago. Every single time Labor is given an opportunity in the federal parliament to do the right thing by desperate people on Manus and Nauru, they vote with the Liberals because so often it is just about the politics.

I picked up the paper today to see that Labor will not support the outlaw motorcycle gang bill. That is interesting. They must have got caught by the last group of stakeholders they were talking to, so they are not going to support the legislation but they do not even have the courage to come in here and vote against it or take it into Committee. If you support the intent of the legislation, which we are being asked to believe, take it into the bloody Committee stage and put up some amendments. It is so spineless. This amendment is not designed to make sure the bill goes off for improvement. It is not written to get the support of the House. It was not presented to the Greens. Ms Woodruff did not see it until about 15 minutes ago.

Dr Broad - She wasn't in the Chamber at the time.

Ms O'CONNOR - Oh, Dr Broad, give us a break. Debate on this legislation started at 11.45 a.m. today. It has been the subject of briefings for close to three months now. We know what you are trying to do here. You are trying to cover your backsides. You did not have the courage to move amendments and you did not have the courage to stand by your position in the paper this morning. You have come in here in your flaccid way with your copy motion, which we will not support because it was never intended to garner our support, so how could we support it? What is the intention here? It is not to improve the legislation, we know that; 100 per cent it is not to improve the legislation.

If they are serious and they support the intent of the bill, why aren't we going into Committee and debating amendments? It is because they do not have the courage to take this bill through and put their amendments up and potentially have them voted down and then be faced with a vote. They probably will be faced with a vote. The whole thing is so cack-handed, I am embarrassed for them, but because I am so accustomed to the cynicism of Labor I have no sympathy whatsoever for the mess they have made for themselves.

I feel for Tasmania Police, who put a lot of time into this legislation and into briefing us and I acknowledge that hard work. I acknowledge that the intent of this bill comes from a good place, and that is an effort to make Tasmania a safer place. There is nothing noble about Labor's position here. We will not be supporting this motion because it is garbage, it is political, it is not designed to get the support of the House and it will not have the support of the House. Labor is going to have to nail their colors to the mast at some point. They should be embarrassed.

Unfortunately, Ms Haddad, I feel you have been used, because if you really wanted to have this bill withdrawn and redrafted you would have spoken to us. If you had really wanted it, you would not have made it about a Labor position. You would not have talked about a bipartisan approach to targeting organised crime. We were not in this equation and therefore for a whole range of reasons, we will not be supporting this amendment. Do better next time.


Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Madam Speaker, although this is technically a correct amendment and the Leader of the Tasmanian Greens has said almost everything that needs to be said on this subject, I rise to say how insulting it is to be provided with an amendment like this which has clearly never been designed to broker anything like a cross-Chamber agreement on the motion, tossed on my desk moments before it was being debated, when there has been months and months of hard work by Tasmania Police and briefings with people from interstate seeking to wrestle with a difficult problem and find a solution.

The Greens do not believe the Government has got the solution right. That is why we will not be supporting this bill, but we worked in good faith on this and like many other Tasmanians, I was really shocked and surprised to hear the Labor Party come out with a firm position against this bill last week before they had the final briefing. I held out hope to the end. Call me idealistic but I thought there was a possibility the minister might have listened to something we had suggested and there might have been some movement just to see what the possibilities could be for members of the upper House to look into those issues, but we got nothing. Maybe I will learn but I continue to hold out hope that when there is talk about sincerely working together, really trying to work together, the minister might have listened to something that we said, but he did not. I did not expect Labor to shut the door before they had had the final briefing.

This is a press release. It is here today and we will see it somewhere on the Labor Party's website. Tomorrow it will go out to stakeholders, they will hold their hand on their heart and say they are seriously concerned. What an absolute disgrace to put up such an amendment to a motion in this House rather than attempting to move amendments on the floor of the parliament in an ad hoc way. That is the work of parliament. It is the work of parliamentarians to do the work. The Greens did the work. We proposed amendments, we wrestled with serious definitional problems and we sought advice. It got us nowhere because this Government is deaf to the real issue and this is a bill that had two conflicted objects - the stated object of the bill and the public object, which is about creating a sense of being tough on crime and fear. That is not what the bill would do.

This is the work of the parliament. You should go into Committee if you have a sense that you would make those changes. We have not heard what Labor would propose and we are clearly not going to. I find it offensive that I have been handed an amendment that talks about a bipartisan approach. What a joke. I will leave it there.