Page 726 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 29 March 2006

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Might I say at the outset that I certainly would have no problem with considering any reasonable amendments to this bill so that the Assembly can accept the bill in preference to what the government is going to introduce tomorrow. For example, in terms of oversight, I certainly would not have a problem if the human rights commissioner and a public interest monitor were also included, if people felt strongly enough about that.

The fundamental reason for my introducing the bill is the need for consistency in antiterrorism measures in Australia. We are venturing into a relatively new area of law when we are looking at preventative detention legislation. Whilst about eight ACT acts do have some form of preventative detention in them, as referred to by the legal affairs committee in its report on the government draft’s bill, it is a relatively novel aspect and concept in terms of the Australian criminal law system. Nevertheless, COAG, the Prime Minister and all the state and territory ministers decided to go down the path of introducing legislation of this type.

The problem with the government’s draft bill is that it differs in a number of very substantive aspects from the legislation in other states. The beauty of the New South Wales bill is that it was one of the first bills passed and it was used as a type of template legislation for other jurisdictions in terms of the passing of antiterrorism legislation. If one looks at the antiterrorism legislation comparison provisions which can be found at appendix 3 to the legal affairs committee’s report, which I will table to make it easier for people to do so, one will see exactly how the draft ACT bill compares with both the commonwealth and the New South Wales legislation. In fact, at this stage I seek leave to table appendix 3 to the legal affairs committee’s report, which has a comparison between the ACT, commonwealth and New South Wales legislation.

Leave granted.

MR STEFANIAK: I present the following paper:

Anti-Terrorism Legislation Comparative Provisions—Appendix 3 to Report 3 of the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs.

I should also note that, apart from its being used as a type of template legislation by some other jurisdictions, the committee took evidence from the ACT human rights commissioner, Dr Helen Watchirs, who indicated that from her perspective and from a human rights perspective the New South Wales bill was the second best bill. She preferred the ACT draft because of the ACT having its Human Rights Act. I think that that was an interesting observation and one well worth mentioning for members who might be concerned about—

Mr Stanhope: Do you like being second best, Bill?

MR STEFANIAK: Jon, I like to protect the community, that’s for sure. The New South Wales legislation is very similar in most material aspects to the commonwealth legislation. On the most important aspects of the bill, it ensures a number of things. The New South Wales bill ensures that the Supreme Court may make a preventative detention order on the grounds that it is reasonably necessary and would substantially assist in preventing a terrorist act and/or is reasonably necessary to preserve

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