Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3427..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
It is still providing advice to me and to government in deliberative discussions which will be held in cabinet. Once that process is through, I will be more than happy to look at whether we can provide all of that review to members because of their interest.
As I have said, the advice through that review was that no further action was required to address this clause. JACS, in issuing advice on human rights compatibility, asked that an addition be included in this clause to bring the person before the tribunal as soon as possible. We took that advice and put it in there. The presidential members are magistrates. The Supreme Court has general oversight of all of these tribunals, so there are additional protections there. I accept, as I have said, the view of the scrutiny committee and of members who had raised their concerns with me. After listening to that advice and responding to it and taking more advice on whether or not we need a clause like this, I thought it was better to accept the views of the opposition and the Greens not to proceed with this clause. It is simply the government listening to the Assembly, not majority government being arrogant or ignoring what people are saying.
MR PRATT (Brindabella) (11.59): I stand to speak to Ms Gallagher's amendments. I am very pleased that she has moved to get rid of 59A. I must say that I am terribly disappointed that JACS would have come up with this particular instrument of power. You have to wonder why the department would set the government up for perhaps a monumental act of hypocrisy, if they had gone ahead with this, because of the government's failure, over some 15 months now, to give our law enforcement agencies the powers to detain people for alleged terrorist principles.
We would have seen a magistrate dragging somebody before the tribunal to detain them because they had not indeed attended the tribunal. On the other hand, the government is out of step with other jurisdictions in this country and has failed to conform. So I am very, very pleased that the minister has moved to eradicate that. This puts the spotlight on JACS as to how the hell they got to bring before us that type of recommendation.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (12.00): I apologise to the minister for speculating that she had not read the bill. I thought that perhaps it was just ignorance that had caused this provision to sneak into the legislation, but it was naivety or something else rather than neglect that has got us here. It is good that the minister has finally seen the light.
We have had an audit by a human rights lawyer at Monash University; it has been through JACS; it is human rights compliant. Suddenly, thanks to the work of the scrutiny of bills committee-thank you, Mr Seselja and your advisers-yesterday they changed their mind. This provision still stands. The minister admitted that she had considered whether it should stay in or go and has come up with an amendment which says that the person must be brought before the tribunal as soon as possible. It does not say anything about when they might be released; it does not say they should be released as soon as possible. There is nothing in here-this provision is silent-about the release of someone held by order of the tribunal, except that they are only released on the order of the tribunal. This is an outrage.
This is more power than any parliament has, especially this parliament. We do not have the capacity, in this parliament, to lock people up. Other parliaments do, but they