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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3219 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

It is interesting that that was the position of the cabinet during its consideration of the Olympic Events Security Act, but for some reason that the Attorney has not explained to us here it has moved away from that approach and has specifically rejected the approach that the cabinet originally adopted in relation to the Olympic events bill, a position which we agreed with at the time. There has been no explanation of why the cabinet, in its consideration of this bill, abandoned the policy position it adopted in relation to the Olympic events bill. It would have been appropriate for the Attorney to give us some explanation of why the cabinet or the government moved away from the positions that it had embraced in relation to the Olympic Events Security Bill, a position which the Labor Party supported at the time, in recognition of the specific nature of the Olympic Games.

Mr Speaker, you will recall that in the original debate objection was taken to the frisk searching of entrants to the grounds by persons of the opposite sex. Mr Osborne, in his bill, has limited the power to conduct frisk searches, but he has not gone to the extent that the government did and limited the power to same sex searches.

There is still no limitation in the bill on the discretion to search personal property or to select persons for frisk searching, and it is an offence for any person without reasonable excuse to refuse to permit a search of personal property or a frisk search of their person.

Of the examples given of major events, only a papal mass or some international sporting events would raise similar concerns as the Olympics, at least in the view of the Labor Party. Given the experience with the Brumbies, who play teams from South Africa and New Zealand, there must be some doubt that the powers are needed for these games.

However, if or when such events occur, we can consider the need for one-off legislation. The bill cannot be justified, in our opinion, for other events such as rugby Super 12 matches or tests or rugby league semifinals, all examples given by Mr Osborne in his presentation speech.

Indeed, anecdotal evidence available to me is that the police do not generally even use the powers available to them currently in relation to major events such as Summernats. I am not aware of any examples in relation to, say, rugby Super 12 matches or tests or rugby league semifinals, the examples used by Mr Osborne, where the police have indicated that there were incidents at the grounds which they could not handle within the context of their professionalism, their training and the powers currently available to them. I am not aware that the police have concerns about the level of their training, their professionalism or their capacity to handle crowds at Raiders or Brumbies games.

The wide-ranging powers given to the police and authorised officers in the original bill were supported only on the basis that the Olympics were a one-off event. I do not believe that there is any evidence that the powers contained within this piece of legislation are needed for other events, generically or generally. I do not believe the case has been made, and the Labor Party will therefore not support the bill.

MS TUCKER (6.21): The Greens will not be supporting this bill. We are not in favour of increasing police powers unless the need for such an increase is demonstrated.

Mr Berry: Evidence based.

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