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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 3 Hansard (30 March) . . Page.. 825..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Roosevelt's famous words when speaking of the depression afflicting his country. He said:

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself-nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance

Roosevelt was essentially telling the American people that their fears for the future were preventing the nation from economic recovery from the Great Depression. We see that very principle in action today. Like the Americans in the 1930s, we as a nation must not be immobilised by the fear we feel today, be it the fear of war, the fear of political or religious extremists or the fear of terrorism. For what is terrorism if its goal is not to produce paralysing fear in a society? In addressing the fear confronting Americans in the 1930s Roosevelt courageously challenged the people to face their fears and overcome them. Of utmost importance, Roosevelt did not exploit those fears. Observers and historians say that the American people embraced Roosevelt's new deal and pulled themselves out of the depression.

I am not saying that Australians-and Canberrans, for that matter-have nothing to fear from terrorism. No-one has ever denied that the national capital is a potential terrorist target. I believe it is. That is why I agreed at the COAG meeting of 27 September 2005 to introduce the legislation I am introducing today. Indeed, Commissioner Keelty has in the past commented on some of the more obvious reasons why all Australians possibly face a heightened risk of becoming victims of a terrorist attack. Commissioner Keelty notably commented on our involvement in the invasion of Iraq and the consequences of that. I admire him for that-for confirming what all Australians know to be true but which the Prime Minister and his ministers deny. However, what I am saying is that the fear we face in this age of terror must not be exploited or used for wrong ends.

As we are all aware, in the lead-up to the development of the Terrorism (Extraordinary Temporary Powers) Bill 2006 that I am introducing today, Australia has been engaging in a debate that I fundamentally believe it should not be having-a debate about which of our freedoms, rights and liberties we are prepared to surrender in return for greater physical security-a debate that is inciting fear and unrest in Australian society. The debate we ought to be having is how our rights can be secured and our democracy can be protected from the threat of terrorism, not the extent to which we are prepared to do the terrorists' job for them by inciting fear and giving up our democratic freedoms and human rights without a whimper.

I would like to stress today that when the democratic or human rights of any individual are violated all Australians are affected. I believe-and it is inherent in the legislation being introduced today-we can protect our rights and secure our democracy while still responding to the heightened threat posed by terrorists. However, in responding to this threat we do not need to give in to or exploit that fear. I believe that this bill achieves these aims. I do not believe the ACT's laws will leave the territory exposed. All this bill will do is ensure that we do not give in to the fear and that we do not lightly surrender the very way of life we seek to protect from terrorist acts.

The bill has been developed in light of various legal opinions on human rights and constitutional issues. It also takes into account the bipartisan Senate committee's


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