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Speech: Anti-Protest Legislation Repeal

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I rise, unsurprisingly, to speak in support of the Summary Offences (Reversal of Section 58 Amendments) Amendment Bill put to this council for debate by my colleague the Hon. Robert Simms. The Greens wholeheartedly support the repeal of the retrograde Peter Malinauskas rushed anti-protest laws of exactly a year ago now. We think that the government has had time to reflect on the folly of their ways and we hope that they will listen to not just the voices of the Greens today but other voices, such as Amnesty International, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Australian Democracy Network, the Australian Education Union, the Australian Services Union, the Human Rights Law Centre, Human Rights Watch, the National Tertiary Education Union, SACOSS and The Australia Institute.

I note that, while we are here inside debating this repeal bill, outside on the steps there are several hundred protesters and they come from the environment movement, the human rights movement and the union movement and they are people out there fighting for democracy because when you ban protest, you ban progress. It is well put by Astra Taylor in her book, Democracy May Not Exist, But We'll Miss It When It's Gone. I will quote her:

…structural change follows social unrest. There would be no minimum wage, workplace health-and-safety protections, eight-hour workday, or the weekend without the labor organisers and trade unionists who went on strike; there would be no gay rights without the legendary riots at Manhattan's Stonewall Inn; there would be no Americans with Disability Act of 1990 without decades of direct action from impaired activists, who blocked inaccessible buses, pulled their bodies up unwelcoming Capitol Hill steps, and even…

—a word for urination starting with P—

…in public to make a point that they couldn't use regular washroom facilities.

The forward march of democracy resembles a kind of two-step move: rule making trails open revolt, like sedimentation hardening into rock after a storm.

Indeed, this beautiful stone building is based on protest. We would not have a parliament had there not been protest. We would not have a Westminster system had there not been protest, or a Washminster system. We would not have progress without protest and by banning protest in this state, sending a chilling message to those who seek a better world, the Malinauskas government a year ago now made a mistake. Today is their opportunity to correct that mistake and to support progress and democratic protest in a healthy democracy. With that, I commend the bill.

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The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I rise on behalf of the Greens to speak in support of the Statutes Amendment (South Australian Employment Tribunal) Bill. SAET is the independent umpire for workplace disputes. Timely court proceedings are critically important where maintaining workplace relationships and contracts...

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