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National writing law and order bills on the run

Hon Clayton Cosgrove
Law and Order spokesperson

10 February 2009 Media Statement

National writing law and order bills on the run

Labour law and order spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove says the Government is clearly making law and order policy “on the run” and making a mockery of cross-party consultation and parliamentary procedure at the same time.

“This week National intends introducing three law and order bills in Parliament, but because they have been writing the bills in haste, and hadn’t even finished drafting them yesterday, the only information Justice Minister Simon Power has been able to share is little more than a one-page note on what each bill is about,”

“And I don’t mean one page per bill --- there is basically a one-page summary covering all three. The Gangs and Organised Crime Bill rates 17 lines, the Criminal Investigation (Bodily Samples) Amendment Bill is summarised in 12 lines, and the Sentencing (Offender Levy) Amendment Bill is covered in 13 lines,” Clayton Cosgrove said. “In each case that includes a line for the heading.”

Clayton Cosgrove said Labour would support each Bill during the first reading and was prepared to be constructive at select committee, “but it becomes hard to debate such important issues sensibly when the Government is hiding the detail of the Bills from us. National appears more interested in political theatre than constructive debate.”

Clayton Cosgrove said a good example of how little detail National could provide was contained in the DNA Bill summary. “It says the Bill will allow DNA to be collected for a wider range of offences, but doesn’t say what these offences are.

“Similarly, the Gangs Bill talks about additional powers to have gang fortifications removed if they are ‘intimidating in nature’, but the summary doesn’t define what intimidating means. I can only presume National is unsure itself what it means and also does not know precisely what it wants to achieve.”

Clayton Cosgrove said Labour had introduced legislation to clamp down further on organised criminal gangs, to increase sentencing and to expand search and surveillance procedures. “We have also been studying the progress of South Australian legislation making life tough for gangs. National should do the same.

“Our legislation showed Labour meant business. We will work with National on other sensible measures in the future, but Labour is in the business of promoting law order, not simply dressing windows.”


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