R & D ‘LAB RAT’ BILL SENT BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

Greens MLC Tammy Franks has welcomed the abandonment of a Weatherill Government bill that sought to grant sweeping ministerial powers to override almost any existing state law, while committing the Greens to stand guard should similar laws be introduced in the next South Australian parliament.

The Research, Development and Innovation Bill moved through the lower house without opposition but was set aside today in the upper house in the face of questions from Ms Franks and an online petition that garnered over 10,000 signatures within 24 hours. If passed, the new legislation would have granted Ministers unfettered power to ‘disapply’ almost any existing state law that might be an encumbrance to research and development.

"We want to see the tech industry succeed,” Ms Franks said. “They need an R&D sandbox, we all want to see this happen, but in consultation with civil society and legal experts, and not at the expense of important legal protection and our civil liberties.

“Today I spoke against this sneaky Government bill. While the Greens have always supported research, development and innovation, this bill would effectively be able to suspend over 500 current laws at the stroke of a pen for a Research and Development Declaration.

“We've stopped this bill for the moment, but I suspect it will be back with a vengeance next year. We'll be keeping our eyes on this one,” she concluded.

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