Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 October 2005) . . Page.. 3735 ..
thinking. If a mother, worried about a child that has been picked up by the police and carted away, discussed the possibilities around that, she could find herself at the governor’s pleasure. How appalling is that? I had expected more from those people opposite. I did not expect any more out of Mr Pratt, because I know what he is like. But I had expected more out of the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, because, although we differ quite often on penalties for crime, we have not hitherto differed on the preservation of basic human rights. I express my disappointment in those two people.
Jon Stanhope is the only person with any spine in this country. I am very proud to be able to serve under the direction of Jon Stanhope, and I consider him a better man than I am; yes I do. I have no problem in saying that publicly. Those opposite are not worthy of walking in Jon Stanhope’s shadow.
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (12.07): John, you have not heard from me yet, but I think you will be disappointed, so on that point, at least, you are quite right.
Mr Hargreaves: I know I will, Bill.
MR STEFANIAK: The first duty of any government is the security of its citizens, and we do face a very serious threat here, an unprecedented threat that is not going to go away and that may well be with us for a long time. It is a crucial point of national security that we have sensible legislation to deal with the threat.
I followed with interest what the Chief Minister initially said about the concerns he raised before he went to COAG. I think I too was away during COAG. I was in New Zealand, but I was pleased to see that a piece I wrote for the paper got in. I think I called on the Chief Minister to go to COAG with an open mind. He came up with some of the usual leftist civil liberty concerns in relation to what was being proposed, but when he got there, and after a briefing, he came away having seen the sense of what was being proposed. I thought, “Good on you, Jon; you’ve done the right thing for the people of the ACT there.”
However, when he got back here, something must have changed. Maybe the left wing civil libertarian in him came in, or whatever. But, when he was given this draft-in-confidence document, he put it on the web—as a few of my colleagues have said, the World Wide Web. That was completely wrong, it was reckless and it was completely irresponsible. It is quite clear what this document says; it says, “draft-in-confidence. This draft is supplied in confidence and should be given appropriate protection.” Every other state leader has done that, the Northern Territory has done that and the Commonwealth has done that.
It is quite common for drafts-in-confidence to be moved around between the states and the commonwealth when joint legislation is being proposed. I cannot think of a time—someone might correct me—when the ACT has breached that before, especially on legislation as important as this. These issues, too, were on the table; it was not as though the general public did not have much of an idea of what was going on. The general Australian public want to see security, they want to be protected, and they want sensible laws in place at this difficult time to protect ordinary law-abiding Australian citizens.