Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3218 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

This bill will enable law enforcement authorities to extend to such major events the same level of public safety and security that ensured the smooth conduct of the Olympic soccer matches at Bruce Stadium. The government is prepared to support Mr Osborne's bill on the basis that it will be used only in relation to those events which truly warrant the application of special powers.

We certainly would not support its use for ordinary sporting events such as Raiders or Brumbies games. I do not think he is remotely suggesting that that be the case. Accordingly, on the basis that there would be some exceptional events, we think the bill is worthy of support.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (6.15): Mr Osborne introduced this bill on 6 December 2000. In my view and the view of the Labor Party, the bill contains many of the same problems as the original Olympic Events Security Bill 2000, which was described by the scrutiny committee, chaired by Mr Osborne, as draconic, because it unduly trespassed on personal rights and liberties.

The scrutiny committee in Scrutiny Report No 1 of 2001 said that its comments on the original bill apply to Mr Osborne's subsequent bill, this bill, except insofar as concerns associated with the vesting of powers in authorised persons and not simply police officers applies.

Mr Osborne would limit the powers to police officers and not extend them to authorised persons. The amending bill, which renames the act the Major Events Security Act 2000, contains the same powers for enforcing security arrangements for declared major events, not Olympic events, but vests them only in the police, not authorised officers. Examples in the bill of declared major events include a papal mass, concerts, national or international sporting events, agricultural trade shows and New Year's Eve celebrations.

When my office received a briefing on the original bill, my staff was told that the cabinet had rejected the special or major event approach and specifically limited the original bill to Olympic events. Olympic events were a specific one-off category of high-risk events that needed a high-security approach. That was the only justification for some of the so-called draconian provisions contained in the original bill. There is no justification for making a limited, one-off abrogation of rights permanent.

There have been no problems at high-profile football matches enjoyed by the Brumbies, Raiders and AFL fans that the police have not been able to handle. So where is the justification for continuing in law these transgressions of rights? What is the continuing justification for legislation described by the scrutiny of bills committee, chaired by Mr Osborne, as draconian?

It would have been interesting to have heard from the Attorney about the basis of the cabinet's move from the position it adopted in relation to the Olympic Events Security Bill, namely, that it should be a specific piece of legislation, a piece of legislation that applied only to the Olympic Games, having regard to the specific and special nature of the Olympic Games.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .