Page 4117 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2005
Mr Stefaniak would have agreed to the detention of Australian citizens without any judicial involvement or oversight.
What would Mr Stefaniak and Mr Smyth have agreed to? Would they have agreed to an Australian citizen being locked up, being detained, without access to a lawyer? What would Mr Stefaniak and Mr Smyth have agreed to? Would they have agreed that a young man could be taken off the street, locked up and allowed one phone call, say to a mother or father, with a capacity to say, “I am safe but I cannot tell you where I am”; and if that person did in his anxiety let it slip that the police think that he is a terrorist and he has been locked up and the mother in her anxiety says to that young man’s father, for instance, that he has been locked up and the police think he is a terrorist, for that person then to be subject to five years imprisonment?
Would Mr Stefaniak and Mr Smyth have signed up to the prospect that, for telling your mother or your father that the authorities believe you to be a terrorist, you should be locked up for five years? That is what Mr Stefaniak and Mr Smyth believe is appropriate in this day and age in Australia. That is what they think is appropriate. How remarkable! We know, by their response to these issues, that they think it is okay for people to be locked up without access to a judge or a court; that they believe it is appropriate for people to be sent to jail for five years; that they believe that the new laws in relation to sedition are okay; that they accept that you should be able to be sent to jail for seven years for expressing a view that is perhaps outrageous view but which does not actually involve suggestions of violence, that the government be brought undone or that there be a revolution; that we be denied that essential right to express a view or, essentially, suffer seven years imprisonment.
I think that there is now a level of embarrassment round Australia in a whole range and across a breadth of parliaments and parties, certainly within both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party, about the extreme nature of the law which John Howard and his cohorts sought to foist on Australia. I can only say and I can only be thankful that, as a result of the decision by me to release that bill, to take the people of Canberra into my confidence, some sanity has prevailed. One has to ask Mr Stefaniak and Mr Smyth in relation to the winding back of those outrageously draconian, fascist provisions that the Prime Minister has now abandoned to say which of them they would reinstate, which would still be there but for the fact that I released the bill and generated the level of debate that I did. Which of those provisions? All of them.
Bill Stefaniak and Brendan Smyth liked it as it was. They saw no need for debate. They saw no need for expert input. They liked it as it was and they now regret that the Prime Minister has been forced to wind it back. They now regret that there is judicial oversight. Mr Smyth and Mr Stefaniak regret now that you can actually appeal on the merits against your detention. That is something that Mr Pratt should understand as a person in this place who has suffered preventative detention. He now embraces the need for preventative detention, but not when it applied to him, of course: something regarding which, I understand, he is now embroiled in some legal action.
MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister’s time has expired.