Page 3584 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 2005

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All sensible measures, bar one, over the whole period of self-government have been opposed by Labor governments and Labor oppositions. In the last couple of years they have opposed such things as stronger sentencing for serious crimes. Back in 2001 they opposed a most important measure to enable police to bring perpetrators of crimes to justice by backing reasonable belief as opposed to reasonable suspicion—something the police were particularly keen to see included in improvements that the previous Liberal government, towards the end of its term, wanted to make to the Crimes Act. To their credit, the then Labor opposition did back stronger bail laws. But when some further improvements were put forward in August 2001, they could not quite come at backing reasonable belief.

In the past, Labor has opposed prevalence of offence. It was a Labor Attorney-General in 1992 who took out prevalence of offence from the sentencing provisions of the Crimes Act. That was put back in by a Liberal government. Labor opposed sensible measures to assist police—measures such as move on powers and banning drinking around bus interchanges and shopping centres. Apart from one instance—the bail laws—they have opposed every single sensible law and order measure to make the job of our policemen and women easier in stopping crime, ensuring community safety and bringing perpetrators to justice. They have opposed every sensible measure to make it easier to prove cases once perpetrators have been brought before the court. They have also opposed the adoption of proper sentencing laws to ensure that people who commit serious crimes are dealt with adequately.

How can you people opposite have the hide to tell me and this Assembly that any of my colleagues are police-bashing when that has been something you lot have been doing on a regular basis since 1989? It is something that the police in this town have known for many years. Despite your attempts to whitewash what you have done, there is no way in the world that my colleagues would be involved in such behaviour.

I am now going to talk about one of the biggest problems that I think affect community safety now and certainly into the future. Mr Pratt touched on terrorism and I think he is right in saying that probably we are a medium terrorist target, and that can be fairly scary. I think he was very right when he said that the first duty of any government is to ensure the security and the safety of its citizens. That is something we just simply have not seen from this government or, sadly, in most instances, from the Labor Party in government and opposition during self-government.

I think the Human Rights Act is a real problem here. Let me talk a little about some of the threats we may be facing. Acts of terrorism are a fundamental breach of the human rights of our community. So those who preach acts of terror are preaching against human rights. Why would one use the notion of human rights to defend their rights to attack human rights? Such an argument only makes sense in the minds of ideologues like the Chief Minister and his colleagues and comrades opposite. Acts of terrorism, and the extremist religious beliefs that inspire them, show a total rejection of the principles of diversity and tolerance.

Now we hear that the federal government’s proposed antiterror reforms are likely to be illegal in the ACT because of Mr Stanhope’s and his Labor government’s human rights legislation. The Chief Minister said that he has received advice that the antiterror reforms

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