Last year the Andrews Labor Government sought to gag the families and loved ones of deceased sexual assault victims by making it a crime for them to talk about their deceased loved one without going through a lengthy and costly process to obtain a court order. They did this without adequately consulting with the families of victims impacted by these proposed laws.
This shocking, disgraceful move drew the fury and anger of the families of so many victims, including the mother of Ms Jill Meagher, Ms Edith McKeon, the father of Ms Aiia Maasarwe, Mr Saaed Massarwe, the #LetUsSpeak campaign and many others; but still Daniel Andrews refused to stop and listen.
The flawed The Judicial Proceedings Reports Act 2020 was only stopped when amendments moved by the Liberal Nationals passed the Parliament with the support of the cross bench.
By the time this occurred, so much unnecessary harm and distress had been inflicted on those who had already suffered too much.
It’s remarkable that Labor’s then Attorney-General, Minister for Woman and all other Labor MPs supported this unconscionable position.
Now, nearly a year on, it appears Labor has learnt little from its failed, arrogant “we know best” approach.
The Andrews Labor Government on the eve of Parliament resuming after a six week break tells us it plans to introduce and then ram through the Legislative Assembly legislation the same week, bypassing the usual opportunity for community consultation and feedback.
The Liberal Nationals recognise it can be difficult to balance the right of privacy while guaranteeing open justice and freedom of speech.
However, given its past failings in this sensitive policy area, we have no confidence in the ability of the Andrews Labor Government to get this right, which is even more reason why the usual processes for the consultation on legislation should be followed.
Comments attributable to Shadow Attorney-General, Edward O’Donohue:
“Despite Daniel Andrews’ arrogant disregard for the rights of victims and their families having already caused so much unnecessary grief and trauma, he is yet again bypassing proper parliamentary process creating the risk of mistakes and pain and suffering for those who have already suffered so much.
For Daniel Andrews and his shambolic Labor Government, victims of crime are an afterthought.”