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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 4269..


MR HARGREAVES: The media has a very important role to play during election campaigns, and I trust that they will fulfil this role with integrity-and maybe I dream on, Chief Minister. I raise these matters tonight because I have had concerns expressed to me about the apparent agenda of a particular media group in this country. For the information of members, these concerns are outlined on the website-pens at the ready-www.limitednews.info. The site contains a series of potentially alarming allegations about the involvement of News Ltd in marginal seats in the 2004 federal election. Heaven forbid that the media in this town would try to influence the outcome of the ACT election!

These allegations, if true, are alarming and worthy of further investigation. I understand that the ABC program Media Watch is investigating these matters. I look forward to seeing the results of their investigations in the near future, and I recommend that program to members.

Mr David Hicks

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (12.48 am): Mr Speaker, on the subject of media, for the information of members I wish to read from the editorial in today's Sydney Morning Herald. The Sydney Morning Herald is the finest newspaper in Australia, and I think, along with the Independent of London, the second finest paper in the world.

The Sydney Morning Herald, I think quite appropriately, editorialised on the trial, or the so-called trial, which commenced today of Mr David Hicks. I think it is appropriate that I read what the Sydney Morning Herald had to say about this trial, which marks what is a period of infamy in Australia's history. The editorial read:

The maxim about justice being not only done but being seen to be done is so well-worn it resembles a cliche. It is, of course, no such thing. It encompasses the cornerstone of judicial transparency, commanding that justice be open for all to see and be subject to rigorous and impartial review. The trial this week of the Australian terrorist suspect, David Hicks, by an American military commission therefore resembles a peep show.

No photographs will be allowed of Hicks, held at Guantanamo Bay's Camp X-ray for nearly three years since the US responded to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington by invading Afghanistan, where he was captured. Four of the five military officers sitting in judgement are unidentified. Only eight seats are available for the 50-odd international news reporters wishing to cover proceedings. There will be no audio broadcasts. Unlike court martials, the commission's decisions cannot be appealed to a civilian court. This prohibits review, for instance, of whether evidence allegedly obtained by torture is admissible in court. And even if Hicks is found innocent, he will not go free until a separate review panel decides he no longer is an "enemy combatant". That might be for the duration of an ill-defined war on terrorism.

None of this should surprise, of course. One US military lawyer this week forthrightly asserted that the right to a full and fair trial must be "consistent with our national security". But who decides an individual's self-evident rights must be


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