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SA pandemic emergency law set for review

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The Liberal Party, Greens and crossbenchers have all committed to a review of the state’s emergency legislation.

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The commitments came in response to a Law Society election submission, with the society questioning whether the Act “is suitably equipped to deal with a pandemic that could last for years and where the risks to the public continually fluctuate”.

The Emergency Management Act was designed to allow the Police Commissioner, acting as state coordinator, to manage immediate dangers such as bushfires.

However, the role has allowed Commissioner Grant Stevens to, in the Society’s words, “effectively run the state and, with little warning, issue directions severely restricting our freedoms”, over the course of the pandemic.

While broadly supportive of the way the state has been managed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Law Society wants a review of the laws “to ensure it is able to deal as best as possible with a public crisis of this magnitude”.

The idea gained broad support. Responding for the Liberals, Treasurer Rob Lucas said a Liberal Government would instigate a review of the Act. Labor didn’t respond to the idea specifically, but indicated to InDaily it was not opposed to a review.

The Greens and SA Best both indicated strong support for an overhaul with a view to increasing transparency and accountability.

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