Page 3995 - Week 12 - Thursday, 20 October 2005

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Hilary is clearly a good woman and she is committed to her causes. But I have to say that she is breathtakingly naive. I think she is a classic example of a number of people that we have in that category. Like so many of the civil liberty activists and the academics who have come out and made these sorts of comments, they are all good people; they are all committed to their causes. They do a good thing in terms of talking up civil liberties, but they comment about things they know nothing about.

Mr Hargreaves: What—a professor is?

MR PRATT: The problem is that they do not know much at all about international terrorism and they do not know very much at all about the harsh realities of some of the communities overseas which would seek to bring those sorts of concerns to our shores. The problem with them is that they have very good vocal networks, and because they have those vocal networks their misleading views are, unfortunately, given too much prominence.

Let us look at the other side of the balance sheet, at another writer who, like so many in recent days, has come out and criticised Mr Stanhope particularly. Piers Akerman is a man I do not often agree with—I think some of his views are perhaps a little too simplistic—but, by God, his article in the Daily Telegraph of 18 October was a cracker. I will just pull out a couple of interesting comments he made. He said:

Showing once again he is not the best man to have on your side in a firestorm, ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, on whose watch Canberra burnt two summers ago, has abandoned all ethical and security considerations in an attempt to undermine the Federal Government’s proposed anti-terrorism legislation.

Having agreed with all other state and territory leaders to respect the confidentiality of the draft anti-terrorism bill while it was under discussion, Mr Stanhope, displaying all the maturity of a wet-behind-the-ears student activist, promptly published the content on his Toy Town government’s website, and, in so doing made himself out to be some sort of hero with the immature Left.

Responsible government requires responsible leadership—even more so with the world locked in combat against the most lethal forms of terrorism.

But not from the knee-jerk populist Mr Stanhope. The lessons taught by New York, Bali, Jakarta, Madrid and London have escaped the notice of this former Beazley political staffer.

If security matters cannot be discussed in confidentiality, there is little chance of ever meeting the terrorist threat.

That article says it all about the immaturity of our Chief Minister.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, I think you made some fairly strong comments about a member of the community. I just draw your attention to the resolution agreed by the Assembly of 4 May 1995 and suggest that you have a read of that.

MR PRATT: Am I to respond, Mr Speaker?

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