23 March 2023
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne
Rachel Payne MLC – South-Eastern Metropolitan Region
My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Police, and the action I seek relates to the LGBTIQ+ community. Like so many in the community I was disturbed and distressed to see the confronting footage of the protest outside on the steps of this Parliament last Saturday when anti-trans protestors and neo-Nazis were seamlessly being offered protection by Victoria Police while opposing activists were reportedly pushed away, tackled, trampled upon and injured.
The community is right to express concerns and to question if Victoria Police are sympathetic in enforcing equitable treatment and protection of LGBTIQ+ Victorians. The widespread footage circulated in the media from Saturday’s protest is triggering for many in the LGBTIQ+ community. We have not been able to forget the long, dark history of police brutality and the homophobic and transphobic treatment of the community in Victoria. And we fear, whether rightly or wrongly, that the attitudes of the police have not changed, even 28 years after the infamous Tasty nightclub raid.
Next Friday 31 March is the International Transgender Day of Visibility, and the action I seek is that the police minister commit to meeting with organisations such as Transgender Victoria, Transcend Australia, Switchboard Victoria, Queerspace, Minus18, the Victorian Pride Lobby and the Zoe Belle Gender Collective to explain the police actions on Saturday 18 March 2023. Victoria Police must be seen to protect some of the most marginalised, vulnerable and continuously attacked people within our community.
Received: 7 July 2023
Hon Anthony Carbines MP
(Minister for Police, Minister for Crime Prevention, Minister for Racing)
Victoria Police has advised me it is reviewing the actions of its officers at the protest of 18 March to determine the options that were available to them on the day – both from an operational and legal perspective – and how these were exercised in the midst of the protest. Victoria Police assures me it remains committed to ensuring that its practices remain both lawful and aligned to public expectation, which includes protecting human rights.
At large protests where there is a convergence of people with differing views, the primary objective of police is always to maintain public order and prevent violence or damage from occurring.
This often requires police members separating individual groups. The involvement of multiple groups can be unpredictable, and often challenging for frontline police when determining what priority action to take and whether or not there are breaches of any laws.
Please also note that I am unable to intervene in complaints against Victoria Police, as the established statutory processes under section 10 of the Victoria Police Act 2013 prevent the Minister for Police from directing Victoria Police in relation to enforcing, investigating, or prosecuting individuals.