New legislation to be introduced by the O’Farrell Government will give police extraordinary powers 30 years out of date, and, according to NSW Greens MP and Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge will unfairly target disadvantaged members of the community.
“Police already have the powers to deal with people who have had too much to drink and are causing trouble. This legislation is an extreme and unnecessary extra step.
“There is scant evidence other than tabloid and shock-jock scare-mongering papers that police need further powers in this area.
“The ability for the police to force an individual to move from a public space is not something that should be lightly considered in a free society. These laws are more at home in a repressive closed society than in NSW in 2011.
“The Move On Directions Bill will essentially re-introduce the drunk and disorderly provisions which were sensibly removed from the statute books in 1979. We are seeing a real step backwards.
“This legislation will give police wide powers to hassle and intimidate people at their discretion. We might get more arrests, but we’re not going to get a better society.
“At police discretion, people returning from a dinner party, a sporting event or even the theatre will be a police target if they’ve had a couple of drinks, or take offence to the police harassing them.
“Previous laws of a similar nature have been shown to have a disproportionate effect on the most vulnerable members of the community, homeless people, young people and Aboriginal people.
“The Coalition is wasting no time at all in trying to take NSW back to the future,” Mr Shoebridge said.