New police powers flout civil liberties

Perth Resistance members protest proposed police ‘stop and search’ powers in Western Australia, April 20

The Socialist Alliance (SA) has criticised recent state government changes to the Liquor Control Act as an infringement of civil liberties.

Under the changes, police have the power to issue “barring orders”, which ban an individual from licensed premises without incurring a criminal conviction.

“Giving police the power to issue barring orders to patrons of licensed premises is tantamount to dishing out punishment before a person has been found guilty,” said SA spokesperson Alex Bainbridge.

The government has justified the change on the grounds it will target people who are violent or disorderly on licensed premises.

But Bainbridge said the argument did not add up. “Violence and offensive behaviour is already illegal and publicans and police already have significant powers at their disposal to deal with these problems,” he said.

“There are dangers that Aboriginal people, young people and poor people could be unfairly targeted by police with these powers.

“Further, there is the danger that this could become the 'thin edge of the wedge' — the government could decide to extend these powers to other situations.”

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.