Page 3739 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 18 October 2005
The government misses the point. What this is about is releasing draft-in-confidence material, at the top of which it says, “This draft is supplied in confidence and should be given appropriate protection.” If you do not understand what “appropriate protection” is, I can assure you that it does not mean posting it on the World Wide Web; that is not appropriate protection for a draft-in-confidence document.
The response we have seen from Premiers Beattie and Bracks and from Premier Lennon and from Premier Iemma is that they do not agree with Mr Stanhope’s action either. I think all of them would say that they have concerns about this legislation. Anybody looking at the situation the world finds itself in has concerns about the legislation that has to be passed, is concerned that we actually have to pass such legislation. But those concerns should have been raised on the day, at COAG. It should not have been done late on a Friday afternoon, when people were zipping away for the weekend, in the hope that almost nobody would notice. If you are genuine, if you are absolutely genuine about consultation, why didn’t you put out a press release and have a press conference to say, “I have serious concerns about this legislation, which are why I am putting it out for comment”. No, he just put it on the web.
Mrs Burke: Sneaky!
MR SMYTH: “Sneaky”, Mrs Burke says, and that is what it is. If you believed in this, that is what would have happened. It would have been the brave thing to do. It would have been the thing to do if you had a spine. This was a gutless way to release this legislation, and that is the point. What the government refuses to acknowledge is that a document was given in confidence, that document has been taken away from all of those who were working on it, in confidence, in good faith, and put out for a different sort of discussion.
Premier Lennon said that he has assured Tasmanians there will be time to debate the proposed anti-terror laws, and that time will come when it is tabled in the federal parliament. That is how it is normally done. It is worth reminding Mr Corbell that cabinet has to release this document, on the grounds outlined, which is, “This draft is supplied in confidence and should be given appropriate protection.” Premiers and chief ministers are the only people who are provided the opportunity to view the legislation, and the Chief Minister really needs to understand what he has done: he has breached that confidence. That is the point that we seek to make: he has breached the confidence of the premiers and the other chief minister; he has breached the confidence of the Prime Minister; he has breached the confidence of the process. There will be time to debate this. Mr Hargreaves would contend that the Chief Minister has done the right thing, but that is just not the case.
Mr Quinlan made several points and he asked what was wrong with public consultation. Well, nobody is against public consultation at the appropriate time. Again I go back to what the Premier of Tasmania said: there will be consultation when it is appropriate, and that is when the negotiations at the high level are finished and there is a position that all of the states and territories can live with. Then it would be appropriate.
I have moved this censure motion because the Chief Minister was reckless in publishing the draft-in-confidence Anti-terrorism Bill. It is just a political stunt, it is just