Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 368 ..
MR OSBORNE (continuing):
I do not believe that this Bill is an unreasonable intrusion on people's rights. Forgive me if I disagree with those who believe that some people should enjoy the right to menace others. The reason we have laws is to ensure that the bulk of the community are allowed to enjoy their civil liberties and their rights. A person who is being aggressive in a public place is infringing the civil rights of all law-abiding citizens. In such a case the rights of the many should, I believe, outweigh the rights of the few. I care about individual civil rights. I also care about the common good and the rights of the majority to go about their lives in peace and without fear. I also believe, Mr Speaker, in protecting the civil rights of our women, our children and the elderly. I also believe that this Bill will protect some people from their own foolishness, forcing them to move away from a scene where police believe violence is likely to occur.
The Crime Prevention Powers Bill allows police to act before a situation gets out of control. Without it, police have to stand by and watch the violence escalate until another more serious offence is committed, usually an offence of violence against another person. I do believe that we have to strike a balance between police powers and civil liberties, and I believe this is a good balance.
Finally, and most importantly, Mr Speaker, I believe that this Bill is a vote of confidence in our police force. I feel that those who oppose it are saying, "We do not trust you. We do not trust the police". It is a message that this place does trust the police. I think that our police are the best judges of how to manage the streets and that they should have the tools to do their job effectively. I commend this Bill to the house.
Debate (on motion by Mr Humphries) adjourned.
MR OSBORNE (11.08): I present the Legislative Assembly (Privileges) Bill 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, the privileges of a parliament have a long history and are of the utmost importance in the fabric of our democracy. This Bill sets out to define the non-legislative powers, privileges and immunities for members of the ACT Legislative Assembly. Before I get into the guts of what the Bill does, Mr Speaker, I would like to explain its gestation, for the information of members.
I issued drafting instructions for this Bill early last year. The reason I did so was that the Legal Affairs Committee, which I chaired, issued a report on surveillance cameras and that was stopped from being published outside the Assembly chamber in September 1996.