Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 367 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
and which they own. That is a fair and reasonable request. I will be very interested in hearing from the Government on this issue in due course, and whether they are serious about cooperative consensus government. Are they serious about recognising the legitimacy and the role of the Assembly in this place? Mr Speaker, I urge members to support this Bill. It puts privatisation back where it belongs - in the hands of the parliament, not in the hands of the Executive. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Ms Carnell) adjourned.
MR OSBORNE (11.03): I present the Crime Prevention Powers Bill 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR OSBORNE: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
In essence, this Bill allows police officers to use their judgment to defuse potentially violent situations in public places before they get out of control. It is aimed at returning civil liberties to the bulk of Canberrans who want to enjoy their right to go about their business unhindered and without fear. The Bill empowers a police officer to direct a person to move on from a particular public place if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person has engaged, or is likely to engage, in violent conduct in that place. Of course, as with most things, Mr Speaker, there are some exceptions. This Bill does not apply to pickets, demonstrations or protests; nor does it stop someone from pulling up and using a soap box on a street corner and waxing lyrical about politics or any other matter.
Mr Speaker, during the election campaign many people raised with me concerns about the growing level of violence in our public places, particularly in Civic. Dave Rugendyke and I promised then to try to do something about it. Today we are delivering on part of that commitment. This is one of a number of measures that Dave and I will be attempting to enact to give police the power to act before a tragedy occurs. I think it goes hand in hand with Mr Rugendyke's knives Bill which he presented this morning.
I understand that there are some in the community and in this place who will try to claim that these Bills are an infringement of civil rights. I understand them, Mr Speaker; I just do not agree with them. I believe that we should not hand over the streets to thugs and disguise that move by clothing it in the semantics of civil liberties. I believe in individual rights, but I do not believe in continually elevating them above the common good.