I am writing to request that you withdraw the Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill which will be debated in the Legislative Assembly in the week beginning 3 February. The bill amends the Summary Offences Act 1966 to expand the circumstances in which police and PSOs may direct a person to move on from a public place.
This bill fundamentally changes the rights of citizens to protest, demonstrate or picket a particular place, whether people are protesting about environmental, social or industrial issues, by subjecting them to extended move on and arrest powers.
Currently, under section 6 of the Summary Offences Act, the move on powers can be exercised if: a) a person is or persons are breaching or likely to breach the peace, or b) the person is or persons are endangering or likely to endanger the safety of any other person, or c) the behaviour of the person or persons is likely to cause injury to a person or damage to property or is otherwise a risk to public safety.
The police already have sufficient move on powers under the current act and there is no justification for the expansion of these powers that will significantly impede the democratic right of people to protest.