02 May 2023, 14:55
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

The week before last I went for a picnic, and it brought to mind the children’s classic The Teddy Bears’ Picnic:

If you go down in the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise

So the woods were the Flagstaff Gardens and the picnic in question was for 420, the international day of cannabis reform, and there were a few surprises. Firstly, there were about 60 armed police officers with dogs randomly searching, handcuffing and detaining people they thought might have come to the park with cannabis on their person. The second surprise was that of the dozens and dozens of 420 picnics across Australia this was the only one where police attacked the crowd. This raises a couple of questions in my mind: firstly, if police are as stretched and underfunded as is claimed, was this not an atrocious waste of resources; and secondly, if the government condones this sort of action, what does it say about Victoria as Australia’s most progressive state?


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