13 November 2020
Media Release: Experimenting on Bankstown again
The Government’s plan for a no rules top and search “pilot scheme” of Drug Supply Prohibition Orders in areas including Bankstown is yet another occasion where they are experimenting on this part of Western Sydney with oppressive policies. The scheme is also proposed for Coffs-Clarence, Hunter Valley and Orana.
In 2012 Bankstown was also the location of the Government’s controversial income management trial with the much-hated BasicsCard imposed on the area.
Under the proposed bill anyone who has been convicted of a serious drug offence at any time in the last 10 years would be able to be stop, searched and detained by police at any time. This includes where the offence was committed when they were a juvenile.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“In 2012 the residents of Bankstown were guinea pigs for a heavy handed Government scheme seeking to control how they used their support payments.
“Now the area is going to be an experiment for the rollout of an extreme set of police powers that allow unlimited warrantless searches of citizens.
“Around the world this kind of arbitrary stop and search is being exposed by the Black Lives Matter movement as racist and discriminatory, and yet NSW Labor and the Coalition are trying to expand it into Western Sydney.
“It’s not good enough to just monster the people of Western Sydney with more heavy handed policing under the apparent cover of the war on drugs.
“I find it hard to understand how NSW Labor can back this in. It makes you wonder what it would take for them to say no to more money or more power for police.
“It’s no accident that Bankstown has one of the most diverse communities in NSW. These discretionary powers are almost always directed against minority groups and young people.
“Existing police powers allow searches where they are needed, and good investigative practice doesn’t involve even more random strip searches than already happen in NSW.
“The police are losing their war on drugs and so their tactics are getting more extreme, it’s time for Parliament to push back and finally draw a line” Mr Shoebridge said.