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July 28, 2021

Police powers extended over children

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The NSW premier’s latest expansion of police powers in the name of terrorism will mean police can imprison and interrogate people for up to 14 days, in the most serious breach of human rights proposed yet by this government.

The laws will extend to children over 14 who will be stripped of their legal rights under a new regime of ‘investigative detention’.

These laws go far beyond existing laws where a terrorism suspect can be detained to prevent an immediate threat to the public.

These laws will see people imprisoned and interrogated based on secret hearsay evidence and unverified police reports in an unprecedented expansion of police powers.

The idea that 15 year olds who have not been charged with any offence could be subject to two weeks of intensive police questioning without contact with their families or a lawyer is utterly obscene.

We have seen such schemes overseas create extreme human rights violations, with no substantial impact on preventing or uncovering terrorism.

NSW seems determined to lead the way in the race to strip human rights and civil liberties by a continued expansion of punitive police powers.

The NSW Parliament should be protecting our basic freedoms in a liberal democracy, not surrendering them each time the police demand it.

Of course we need to police with adequate powers to keep us safe, but we are not made safer by so cravenly surrendering our freedoms in the name of anti-terrorism.

David Shoebridge, Greens MP, NSW Legislative Council

 


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