Page 3736 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 18 October 2005

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And it seems that what the Chief Minister has done has maybe compromised that. That is a very, very great shame.

Difficult times call for difficult decisions. Yes, some of these laws are laws that you would not normally enact if you did not have a threat. I am pleased to see there is a sunset clause; I think that is essential in terms of protecting real civil liberties. But it is ridiculous for the people opposite to have their say about the effect this “may” have on people, in some extreme sort of circumstance that I find painfully ridiculous, when they completely forget about the fundamental rights of ordinary law-abiding Australian citizens, especially the right to live. What about that right? What about protecting the right of our ordinary, law-abiding citizens to live?

I will just go through a couple of points some members opposite have made in this place. Mr Stanhope reckoned he said to the PM, “Any package must be consistent with civil rights and the rule of law.” The PM agreed. Mr Stanhope went to COAG and they had a discussion. Obviously, points people raised were taken on board and he went away happy with that. Then he went off on a tangent—unfortunately with him, he tends to go off on a lot of tangents—in relation to the referred laws, saying that the Commonwealth cannot pass this legislation without the cooperation of the states and territories. Quite so; so, if that is the case, why put it on the web? We have a number of laws where referred powers are relevant, and the states and territories cooperate with the Commonwealth on them. I cannot think of any instance where any of that was put on the web when it was a draft-in-confidence, as this document quite clearly states. So this is no different from legislation at a national level, and he misses the point totally there. This is about process.

Mr Quinlan made his usual comments on this and he stated a couple of classics. He referred to my attitude as “My Liberal Party, right or wrong”. I think this party here in the territory has a fairly consistent policy of objecting to things done by the federal government of either political persuasion if we do not think it is in the ACT’s interests or in the national interest. Certainly, a number of things were opposed when we were in government and there was a Liberal government federally. But this happens to be right; this happens to be sensible legislation for the protection of ordinary Australian law-abiding citizens.

Ted also made a comment and had a bit of a giggle about the grammar and spelling in some of the letters against Mr Stanhope. I think that is a bit of intellectual snobbery coming in here from the ALP and I am very disappointed to hear that.

Dr Foskey obviously likes what is happening; she mentioned some learned persons who were supportive of the Chief Minister’s rationale in terms of opposing some of these laws. She used an argument by Chief Justice Higgins. I certainly would put on record that I completely disagree with what the learned chief justice said in relation to these laws. He and I have a very different interpretation of the law, fine man that he is, and I will not go any further than that.

MR SPEAKER: We won’t comment on members of the judiciary.

MR STEFANIAK: No, I am sorry. It does not surprise me to see some of the other persons who have problems with these laws, and I will come back to that in a second. Mr Corbell rattled on about Mr Pratt being held without charge in Yugoslavia. That was

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