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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4990 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

help to extend our police force capabilities, open up communication channels and bring together territory and federal policing agencies. In that way we can more effectively tackle crime not only in the ACT but also around Australia.

MR SPEAKER: Before I call Ms Dundas, I acknowledge the presence in the chamber of the Hon. Otinielu Tautelemalae Tausi, Speaker of the Parliament of Tuvalu, who is accompanied by Mr Paulson Panapa, Clerk of the Parliament of Tuvalu. I welcome them to the Assembly.

MS DUNDAS (11.43): The ACT Democrats believe that the Australian Crime Commission (ACT) Bill raises serious human rights issues. For a long time the ACT has been one of Australia's jurisdictions at the forefront of the protection of human rights. This legislation will damage not only the reputation of the ACT but also its stance on human rights protection. It is ironic that soon after the government tabled its intention to legislate for a bill of rights we are debating legislation that erodes human rights and that will undoubtedly conflict with proposed human rights legislation.

The Democrats have no objection to the allocation of resources to fight organised crime but we do not support the setting up of a pseudo secret service, which is what the Australian Crime Commission will become under this bill. I agree with the minister that the ACT should not be regarded as a soft target for organised crime. I am sure that all members agree it is important to have a national approach to fighting such crime. But I cannot support legislation that will give some people the right to examine, detain and confiscate material from those who are not subject to investigation by or the operations of the ACC.

This is a massive step backwards from the presumption of innocence until proven guilty-one of the fundamental tenets of our common law system. I also have concerns about the ability of the ACC to pass information on to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Normally that would be a quite logical provision but, with the expanded and draconian powers that the federal Liberal and Labor parties combined have given to ASIO, I fear that the rights of Canberrans will be further eroded. I can envisage people being summoned by the ACC to be examined about an incident in which they had no involvement. When those people leave they could be taken into custody by ASIO who could detain them for up to a week for the purposes of interrogating them.

It could be argued that the ACT should have laws that are similar to the laws in other jurisdictions, in particular, legislation that is designed to operate under a national framework. However, just because bad laws have been implemented elsewhere, it does not mean that Canberrans should also be subject to those bad laws. The Australian Crime Commission, which is a good idea, should be useful in fighting organised crime. But a good idea accompanied by bad practice does not remain a good idea. I oppose this bill in principle, but I understand that it will pass through the Assembly today with the support of members of the Labor and Liberal parties. I foreshadow that the Australian Democrats will attempt to amend the bill at the detail stage in an attempt to clear up these issues and protect the rights of people in the territory.

MS TUCKER (11.46): The Greens are also cautious about this legislation. Based on conservations that we had this morning I am pleased that debate on the detail stage of

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