Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 567 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
This reading relies on the intention being to cause public alarm or anxiety around the risk to human life or health, and the Greens' support is premised on that interpretation of these words.
We have had a series of discussions about this through the scrutiny of bills report, the government's response to that report and the scrutiny report in response to the government's response, which Mr Stefaniak has just tabled. I think that there has been enough discussion to make quiet clear what the intent is and, of course, in any interpretation of law that very discussion becomes part of how that law is interpreted. So I am making it quite clear that my understanding and the understanding of the scrutiny of bills committee is that this would not pick up protests in the way that we might have thought it would have initially.
I will speak to the amendments as they are put, but in conclusion I would like to make the point that terrorism and other deliberate acts such as hoaxes would be made much less likely if we seriously concentrated, as a community, as a nation and as a planet on reducing poverty and inequity, on ensuring that enough of the basics-clean water and air, and a healthy land and ecology-are shared by all and on addressing serious hurts inflicted by more powerful people on less powerful people.
MS DUNDAS (3.40): Mr Speaker, I will also speak to the Crimes Amendment Bill 2001 (No 2) and the amendments that have been circulated but not yet tabled.
There is no doubt that the world has changed since the terrorist attacks that occurred in the USA in September last year. These tragic events have shaken the entire world and have affected the individual lives of many Australians, of the family and friends of the Australian civilians that we have lost and the community as a whole. There was the devastation caused by not only the human loss but also the economic and social loss. The world certainly seems more vulnerable now than it did six months ago.
Locally, a sense of fear was struck into the community. Security was raised at government buildings, embassies and within the private sector. Soon after the events of September 11, there were a few confirmed cases of anthrax being sent through the mail in the United States. This heightened awareness and fear was exploited by some people who caused an outbreak of anthrax scares-and I repeat, "scares"-within Australia, particularly in Brisbane and Canberra.
Items were placed in the mail, threats were made and more precautions were taken against what turned out to be no confirmed anthrax cases. The culprits no doubt range from stupid, thoughtless individuals who perpetrated what they thought were practical jokes to callous, cowardly individuals who deliberately sought to exploit community fear. The emergency services responded appropriately with the evacuation of office buildings and the necessary decontamination procedures.
Nobody would suggest that these precautionary methods were unnecessary; nor should we question the costs involved, as all threats must be responded to as if they were real. But we must remain calm yet vigilant in these times because there is a danger that we can become overwhelmed by the events that we witness. While I understand that each time a crime affects the psyche of the community there is a public cry for tougher