Victorian concerns about move on laws

February 24, 2015 by David Marlow
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Victorian Jewish  community leaders have  discussed their concerns at the proposed repeal of the move on laws introduced by the previous Coalition government with the State’s Attorney-General.

President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Jennifer Huppert and President of the Zionist Council of Victoria Sam Tatarka met with Victorian Attorney General Martin Pakula.

Jennifer Huppert

Jennifer Huppert

The Government’s proposed amendments to the move on powers contained in the Summary Offences Act will deprive police of the power to direct people to move on even if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that there is or is likely to be a breach of the peace, or danger to the safety of any other person or if the behaviour is likely to cause injury to a person, damage to property or is otherwise a risk to public safety so long as the persons concerned are demonstrating or protesting about a particular issue.

Sam Tatarka

Sam Tatarka

The Attorney General sought to reassure the community of his strong opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which he said “has no role in a respectful and harmonious multicultural Victoria.”  Mr Pakula also said that “the Premier and his ministerial and caucus colleagues share this view and always have”.

“Given the Government’s stated opposition to BDS the proposed amendments represent a significant retrograde step in the protection of businesses and individuals from the impact of those who seek to boycott or blockade them for their connection to Israel”.  said Mr Tatarka and Ms Huppert following the meeting.  “We note Mr Pakula’s assurance that the Government will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that there are no gaps in the law to protect individuals and businesses from unlawful or violent protests.  We trust that if there is a repetition of the violence, abuse and intimidation that marked the campaign against Max Brenner and other retailers of Israeli products the Government will not hesitate to reinstate appropriate protections that the Jewish community in particular and the community in general is entitled to expect as they go about their daily business”

Executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Dr Colin Rubenstein added: “While we appreciate the Victorian Government’s principled opposition to the BDS movement, we remain concerned that the repeal of the move on laws will weaken the ability of the police to counter BDS blockades of businesses which, as the Government says, have no place in our multicultural Victoria. We urge the Government to closely monitor the situation and to ensure that if the proposed change to the legislation results in a revival of BDS blockades, the legislation is further adjusted to allow people to go about their lawful business free of the discriminatory harassment the BDS campaign represents.”

 

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