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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (30 March) . . Page.. 1368..


I also point out that I did some study into the UK act and I spoke to a number of Home Office officials in July 2002. I would have to say that not every one spoke of their act in glowing terms. Indeed, at least one particular problem had been identified then and that was in relation to a piece of legislation that the Commons had passed. I think it was a "two strikes and you're in"policy for very serious criminal offences. The judges were starting to interpret that in terms of the UK Human Rights Act and the European

conventions to say that, if there were exceptional circumstances, the courts could go behind the very clear interpretation and intention of the House of Commons, which is completely against what the UK act was all about. So there was a bit of judicial activism there, which was causing problems and was adversely commented on by a number of persons involved in this act in the UK. So, whilst Mr Stanhope might have talked to a few persons in the UK who were very much in favour of their act-and one can see why; they were academics and practising lawyers who were involved in the field-I can certainly assure him that not all persons in the UK speak in glowing terms of it.

I am delighted Mr Stanhope got a chance to go in and see No 10-I have only ever driven past it-although I suppose going in there and talking to Cherie Blair was probably like going there in the 1980s and just finding Denis at home. Nevertheless, that must have been quite a highlight of the trip for him. But I do just want to point out that I have spoken to people in the UK who certainly do not feel the same way about the Human Rights Act as the persons he spoke to. The jury is certainly out on that act, and I think perhaps he should talk to a few other people.

Terrorist bombings in Madrid

MRS DUNNE (10.13): Mr Speaker, I rise to mark the tragedy that occurred in Madrid two Thursdays ago and to put on record the views of the Liberal opposition about this terrible event. It was indeed a shocking atrocity and something that all legislators and all people who value democracy should abhor.

As a Hispanophile, I was shaken by the events of the bombings of the Atocha railway station. I was also particularly shocked because I had recently been to those railway stations to see what went on there as I have a particular interest in public transport. But I was also moved, after that event, by the spirit of the Spanish people. I recall watching the news broadcast and the news magazine programs on the Sunday after the event and then discussing it with people afterwards. I do not think any of the people who saw the breathtaking footage of millions of people on the street in Madrid had a dry eye. It was a huge testimony of the spirit of the people of Spain.

I pay tribute to the people of Spain who have made Australia and Canberra their home and to the events organised by and on behalf of the Spanish community: the opening of a condolence book at the Spanish Club and on last Tuesday night a memorial mass in memory of those who died in Madrid. I would like to pay tribute to the people who participated in that event. It was a great bipartisan event. There were many federal parliamentarians there, including Minister Vale and Senators Ridgeway and Harradine, a large cross-section of the diplomatic corps, my colleagues Mr Smyth, Mr Pratt and Mrs Burke, as well as me and a large section of the Spanish community.


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