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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 5 Hansard (11 May) . . Page.. 1549..


MR PRATT (continuing):

ensure that the tests which apply in the application of this law are consistent with the tests in other jurisdictions.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (12.23): The concept that the application of human rights as a paramount consideration is in some way radical ignores the fact that that is exactly—

Mr Pratt: You twist my words.

MR CORBELL: That is exactly what Mr Pratt said. Mr Pratt makes the argument that human rights impede sensible law. That is essentially what Mr Pratt is arguing. I am sorry, but this nation has signed up to international agreements and is a party to international agreements that recognise that these rights are paramount. They should inform all elements of government decision making and parliamentary law making. That is what we have signed up to. That is what we have signed up to as a nation. As a nation, we have signed up to those principles. We, as a territory, have legislated that we will have specific regard to those rights in making laws here in the territory.

The whole issue here that Mr Pratt ignores is that human rights do not override automatically other rights or ignore other issues that have to be had regard to; the whole issue is that they must be proportionate and the response must be proportionate. When you are considering a complex issue, such as the right of a community as a whole to be safe and to live in a safe and secure environment, against individual rights, you must balance these considerations. Any infringement of rights, either the right to—

Mr Pratt: That is a really big defence.

MR CORBELL: No, it is entirely the issue, Mr Pratt, and you ignore and misunderstand it in a way which is very disappointing. The whole issue is that, where there is an infringement on rights—and infringements on rights occur—it must be proportionate. That is the argument. Human rights law internationally recognises that infringement, where it occurs, must be proportionate to protect other rights.

Those are the issues that are at the nub of this debate. Unfortunately, the simplistic assertion by the Liberal Party, that some rights are ignored so that others are upheld, ignores the proportionality argument and ignores the issues that we are trying to grapple with in this legislation.

Question put:

That Mr Stefaniak's amendments Nos 7 and 8 be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 7

Noes 10

Mrs Burke

Mr Smyth

Mr Barr

Mr Gentleman

Mrs Dunne

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Berry

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Mulcahy

Mr Corbell

Ms MacDonald

Mr Pratt

Dr Foskey

Ms Porter

Mr Seselja

Ms Gallagher

Mr Stanhope


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