Knives out in Victoria
In March this year Victorian Police got sweeping new powers to deal with knives. The two features of these new powers were the option to issue on the spot fines of $1000, and the power to “designate” entire areas for random searches.
Any “on the spot fine” system is fraught with risk, as Police issue penalties for matters they would have normally dealt with by other less formal means (a stern talking too for instance).
Now it’s a crime: This is no longer just a tool carried by ordinary citizens.
The fact that Police had to announce they intended to conduct random searches in an area was scant protection from the fact that the Police are now engaging in searches without the presence of a warrant or reasonable suspicion.
As Victoria heads into a state election in November this year, the law and order bidding war has only intensified.
The Victorian Government has opened the bidding by undermining a thousand years of English traditional liberty. The concept of a “warrant” has effectively been thrown out the window. All Police need to do is say they are looking for a knife.
According to Vic Police media:
From 22 August 2010
You can be searched for knives in a public place anywhere, anytime, with and without notice.
The Victorian opposition leader Ted Baillieu would go even further and enlist doctors and school principals into the ranks of the police state. This idiot would give school principals search powers, and mandate the reporting of stab wounds by doctors.
Are teachers educators, or police? Increasingly they are little different police. The relationship between educators and students from disadvantaged backgrounds will be further eroded.
As for Doctors, mandatory reporting injury types has always posed a health risk. Doctor patient confidentiality is a cornerstone of our health system. Surely we don’t want anyone not seeking treatment for a knife wound because they fear their doctor will contact the police.
And what justifies all this nonsense? The rate of knife crime in the state of Victoria has remained steady for a decade.
The 2006 Howard government changes to the federal electoral act have of course been struck down by the High Court. The then conservative government wasn’t too keen on young people voting, and the changes made it less likely they young people would be enrolled to vote in time for an election.
Victoria’s electoral act has recently changed in the opposite direction. Automatic enrollment.
The Victorian Electoral Commission will now automatically enroll high school students to vote on their eighteenth birthday. It will use information at the disposal of the education department to do this.
If voting is to be compulsory in Australia, this seems rational enough. But I am, as always, concerned when information gathered by the government for one purpose is used for another.
In good news:
The filter is looking pretty dead. Especially when after July 1 2011, the Greens will hold a solid balance of power in the Senate.