RLC in the Media: Concern over heavy-handed policing

Police in New South Wales and Victoria have used new laws restricting public movement to fine more than 50 people for reasons including eating a kebab on a bench and sitting in a car. 

Max Opray reports for The Saturday Paper

With police in most states empowered to arrest or heavily fine people caught outside of their homes without a vaguely defined “reasonable excuse” in order to enforce social distancing safeguards and slow the spread of COVID-19, Guardian Australia reports the laws have sparked concerns from civil liberties activists.

Police accountability solicitor from the Redfern Legal Centre in Sydney, Samantha Lee, is concerned the fines (up to $11,000 in NSW and up to $19,800 in Victoria) are not means tested, and warns the measures could disproportionately impact young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the jobless.

Read the full editorial here (The Saturday Paper, 3 April 2020)