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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 4584 ..

MR CORNWELL (12.21): I am drawn into the debate on this consultative committee paper by Ms Tucker's remarks in a couple of areas, because I cannot let them go unremarked. Ms Tucker mentioned what was happening as she said "in this country". In relation to a number of points she mentioned the right to demonstrate. There is a perfect right to demonstrate in this country, Mr Speaker, within the law. It does not allow people to behave like a pack of vandals when they feel like it. That is not rights, and it is certainly not responsibilities that Ms Tucker tried to suggest were part and parcel of this proposed legislation. We have no problems and this federal government certainly has no problems about people's right to demonstrate, but they will not be allowed to damage public property or, for that matter, private property. They will not be allowed to carry on when world trade ministers meet, I repeat, like a bunch of vandals.

The question of detainees was also raised by Ms Tucker. This country has a right to decide who will come to this country. It has a responsibility to process those people in a proper fashion. I suggest that anybody who thinks any other way should seriously consider where they stand. One of the things that amuses me about these people is that they are all very keen to allow more and more people to come into this country. Let me offer them a challenge. You look after these people. You put them in your house, you feed them, you find them a job, get your 17-year-old daughter and your 18-year-old son to move into the same bedroom so you can accommodate these people. Come on, put your money where your mouth is. It is very easy to stand up and make these suggestions because somebody else has to pay. That is at that personal level.

At a more general level, however, we have laws, we have responsibilities to the rest of the country, for refugees and the processing of those people. There are many, many thousands who are waiting patiently, as we have said repeatedly from this side of the house, in lines waiting to be admitted to this country. Just because somebody wants to break the queue and turns up in a leaky boat does not justify their being admitted. Therefore, I reject out of hand any suggestion that we are somehow in breach of some United Nations conventions- conventions that are often not even respected by the people who are on the UN committees concerned.

I find it interesting that Ms Tucker was referring to these matters, because I am not at all convinced that Mr Stanhope's bill of rights that we are going to be debating in the new year will cover those matters. It does, however, cover matters on a more local level that I still believe, Mr Speaker, are matters of considerable concern. I don't intend to debate those issues at the moment, I will leave it until the bill comes in for debate in detail in this Assembly. But I would certainly reject any idea that Mr Stanhope's proposed bill of rights has any concept of a bill of responsibilities also. It seems to me that we have a reincarnation of George Orwell's big brother about to be introduced into this territory in 2004.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (12.26), in reply: I thank members for the contributions to the debate. It certainly is a very significant issue and worthy of the attention that it receives-the introduction and possible legislating of a bill of rights in the ACT. I addressed the matter in some detail just last week, when I introduced the ACT Human Rights Bill, so I won't go into great detail today. However, a range of interesting assertions have been made, most particularly by Mr Stefaniak and Mr Cornwell, that need to be responded to, to assist the community to understand exactly what the Human

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