Page 3726 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 18 October 2005
of letters to the editor on this subject—are really glad that we have given oxygen to this legislation and we can talk about it.
Many people in this country, where the repression of civil rights is going ahead at a pace that is too scary for us, are saying, “Thank God someone is saying, ‘Please stop, look and listen.’” Mr Mulcahy speaks of innocent, ordinary people whose lives are threatened by unknown terrorists. Let us be just as concerned about the ordinary people whose presumption of innocence is lost in this bill, who can disappear for 14 days and their children may not know about it. I am a sole parent. What if I were put away? My daughter might not know about it. The presumption of innocence is lost.
If the federal government does use Mr Stanhope’s action as an excuse for no longer talking to the ACT government, we really have seen the death of federalism in this country and, furthermore, a deeper incursion into the democratic process.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.33): This motion is an absurd and desperate move by those on the other side of this place. I rise in this place today to say very clearly that we should be proud to have a Chief Minster like Jon Stanhope who is prepared to take the debate to the federal government, on behalf of our community, about the potential infringement of fundamental and basic civil and political rights in this country. That is exactly what he has done in the last couple of days.
It was interesting to hear Mr Pratt say that only those people who deserve to be locked up will be. I think that Mr Pratt needs to think a little bit about what he is actually saying. Is he saying that when he was detained without charge in the former Yugoslavia he deserved it, that it was—
Mrs Burke: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker, concerning relevance to the debate.
MR SPEAKER: It is relevant.
MR CORBELL: Seriously, the Liberal Party is saying that when Mr Pratt was detained without charge indefinitely in Yugoslavia he deserved it, because that is the argument that comes from those on the other side of this house: “Do not worry about this legislation; it will only be applied to those who deserve it.” I am sure Yugoslavia had laws too that allowed for detention without charge, but I am sure it was only in reply to those who deserved it, Mr Pratt; they only ever applied to those who deserved it.
The onus is not on us to say why these laws should not take effect. The onus is on those who argue that those laws should take effect. That is the onus and they need to demonstrate why laws that allow for detention without charge, the tracking of individuals and relating the crime of sedition to any illegal activity even, potentially, a sit-in on government premises, should be allowed in this country.
Mr Pratt: You’re a bloody fool.
MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I ask for Mr Pratt to withdraw that.
MR SPEAKER: Withdraw it, Mr Pratt.