Police Marched On SA Parliament House In Fight for Compensation

Several thousand police officers, their families and supporters have taken to the streets in a protest march at the provisions affecting them under the State Government’s new workers compensation legislation.

The rare protest — the last march took place in 1991 as part of an acrimonious pay dispute — was aimed at gaining support for a move to restore compensation and medical benefits for officers seriously injured in the line of duty.

The march, led by Police Association president Mark Carroll, his executive and workplace delegates, blocked two lanes of King William St and spread over two city blocks as it converged on Parliament House from Victoria Square.

The march was timed to garner support for an amendment to the Police Act being introduced in the Legislative Council later today by Family First’s Robert Brokenshire.

His amendment would restore benefits for injured police that have been taken away under the new Return to Work Act.

The Opposition and independents in the Upper House are planning to support the Brokenshire amendment, but the Government is opposing it and contending that seriously injured officers are adequately catered for under the Return to Work Act.

On the steps of Parliament House, speakers including Mr Brokenshire, Greens MLC Tammy Franks and Opposition legal affairs spokeswoman Vickie Chapman voiced concern at the predicament of injured police and urged the government to support the amendment.

“We want you to have the same protections as other police in the country, including the Australian Federal Police,’’ Ms Chapman said.

“It is utterly unconscionable to us the government won’t recognise the work police do. You sign that oath, you do the work and place yourself in danger for us and we respect that.’’

She said for the officers to be now in the position where they have to “go and beg for assistance with your arm shot off’’ was unacceptable and the Opposition would fight to rectify the situation.

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