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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 5 Hansard (11 May) . . Page.. 1544..


MR PRATT (continuing):

people being detained without trial. He is quite right: that has occurred. Mr Corbell quite rightly gave a number of examples where, very regrettably, people in this country have been wrongly detained. That has been happening forever in every democracy and will continue to happen because law is not perfect. But the law is there to be applied in the interest of community safety. Sometimes you cannot take a risk and, therefore, people can be innocently detained. That has happened and will continue to happen. I put it to you, Mr Speaker, that the concern raised by the minister is a red herring and in fact undercuts the sort of law that we want to see in place.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (12.03): The example put forward by Mr Pratt is a poor one; the scenario that he puts forward is a poor one. He said that there have been cases in Australia over the years where the courts have agreed not to provide bail to people who have appeared before them in relation to explosives and firearms offences. That is exactly the point that the government is making. In those circumstances, and in the scenario that Mr Pratt paints, those people have been charged. A charge has been levelled against them and has been considered by the court.

Preventative detention—and this really weakens the position that the Liberal Party is putting—is about detention without charge, without sufficient evidence. That is what preventative detention is about and that is why a much higher threshold should apply. It is quite reasonable for the police to go to the court and say, "We have found these persons and they have all these explosives on them."They can be charged. But preventative detention is about detaining someone without charge. It is an entirely different set of circumstances. It is disappointing that the Liberal Party does not see the distinction between those two issues, and it only underlies the importance of imposing a much higher threshold in relation to the issue of preventative detention and why the government's proposals are the most appropriate approach.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (12.04): I use my second 10 minutes to make a few comments on what Mr Corbell has talked about and to address subclause 16 (5) (c), which has a similar effect. I did not do that the first time. I will do that first.

That particular clause has a similar but slightly different test. This relates to preserving evidence. I am seeking to omit clause (c), which states that detaining the person under the order is the only effective way of preserving the evidence mentioned in paragraph (b). New South Wales has (a), (b) and (d) but not (c). Again, we say this is one of the most unreasonable tests and will be very hard to operate in practice. How on earth do you show it is the only effective way?

You have there already that it is reasonably necessary to detain the person to preserve evidence, that the terrorist act has to have happened within the last 28 days, and that detaining the person under the order is reasonably necessary to preserve the evidence. Those are the tests other states have. Those tests are fine and should apply here. To add an additional test that detaining the person is the only effective way of preserving evidence causes the same problems to arise as I indicated in my speech on the first lot of amendments.

Mr Corbell made a number of comments on the mantra of this government in saying terrorists will not shop around. We have again got Commissioner Keelty basically


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