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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the ugly face of SA Labor « Previous | |Next »
June 14, 2008

It is the NSW Right that usually gives the ALP a bad look. Well the Labor Right in SA also has an ugly face. South Australian Treasurer Kevin Foley has said that the state Government could not "care less" about prison overcrowding, and was willing to "rack 'em, pack 'em and stack 'em" in the cells. And Michael Atkinson,South Australia's Attorney-General, has denounced the state's second-most senior magistrate as "daft" and "delusional" for calling for prison overcrowding to be factored into criminal sentencing and taking exception to Foley's statements.

The authoritarian elements of the law and order Labor Right with its harsher approaches to law and order ---illustrated by bikie gangs as the pathological stranger and the consistent attacks on the legal profession ---is a distinctive feature of the Rann Government. What next ? Attacks on single mothers, pensioners and the unemployed?

The Rann Government is on safe grounds. Large sections of the media and vocal elements of the community will readily endorse such authoritarian sentiments that focuses on the exploitation of community anxiety and resentment and is only interested in short-term solutions.

In the Rann Foley Atkinson view crime is presented as a permanent, escalating threat which can only be met by increasingly punitive measures to control and suppress it. Their commonsense rhetoric holds that problems associated with crime are capable of resolution by criminal justice agencies but that these agencies (primarily the police) are hindered through lack of powers, resources and the proliferation of due process safeguards which benefit the offender. Thus characterised, it is a simple step to propose that there be more powers, more police and fewer safeguards. This is a familiar and powerful mantra which has dominated debate on law and order

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:44 AM | | Comments (3)


all that Andrew Cannon, the state's second-most senior magistrate, suggested was that his fellow magistrates might care to take note of prison overcrowding when sentencing people to jail.

For that he is called 'daft' and 'delusional' by Michael Atkinson, the Attornery General. So the Government's idea is undermine the credibility of a respected sitting magistrate.

Its easy to be tough when you are having trouble finding other ways of being effective. Its one lesson all the bullies learn early on.

Atkinson likes to see himself as being tough on crime and that he is a plain-speaking politician who says what he thinks. He never misses an opportunity to grandstand on how they, alone, stand between bikies and civilisation, or paedophiles and civilisation. I expect him to start talking about hanging, flogging and waterboarding.