Greens MLC Tammy Franks MLC has expressed serious concerns about a Weatherill Government bill granting sweeping ministerial powers to override almost any existing state law.
The Research, Development and Innovation Bill is now before the Legislative Council, having moved through the lower house with the support of the Liberal Opposition. If passed, the new law would grant Ministers unfettered power to ‘disapply’ any existing law* that might be an encumbrance to research and development at the stroke of a pen.
“You can’t make this stuff up, truth here is far stranger and more sinister than fiction,” Ms Franks said. “For Minister Rau to push for a bill that could technically then override almost every law of the state is simply outrageous.
“The fact that Minister Rau has consulted with Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, Tesla, Hills Limited, and Samsung but not the South Australian public about this bill is extraordinary.
“Why should Parliament give this minister the right to suspend important laws, hard fought and won, that afford South Australians protections around privacy, consumer rights, workplace conditions and environment standards and animal welfare? These should not be wiped out with the stroke of a pen because he thinks big business can’t handle some red tape.
“That red tape protects our privacy, our safety and is the bedrock of our civil society. Red tape It is there for a reason, and if we are to suspend it, we should also debate which laws and the reasons why.
“Why potentially suspend the criminal law, environmental protections or workplace safety provisions on the word of a Minister? The Greens support innovation and welcome research and development but we won't sign a blank cheque for Minister Rau to sign away our protections. This is simply undemocratic; it undermines the rule of law, and the Greens will not support it,” she concluded.
*Except the Aboriginal Heritage Act