Page 829 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2006

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reasonable grounds that a terrorist act is being committed or has been committed and that the exercise of powers under the legislation will substantially assist in the investigation of the terrorist act.

The bill incorporates important safeguards to prevent the inappropriate use of the extraordinary powers. Other proposed safeguards to protect human rights include requirements that all police who exercise stop, search and seizure powers must undergo human rights training and that all police must keep records in relation to their use of the stop, search and seizure powers.

Also of significance is the fact that the bill contains a sunset clause, in line with the Senate committee’s recommendation, of five years rather than the commonwealth provision of 10 years. This adjustment is necessary to ensure that the ACT has the best and most human rights compatible legislation. This government has a responsibility to do all it can to protect the ACT community against terrorist acts without unnecessarily inciting fear or infringing rights and freedoms. Making the ACT bill compatible with Australia’s international human rights obligations has not diminished the effectiveness of the law in comparison with the commonwealth or state laws; nor has it limited the scope of the laws or the community’s capacity to tackle terrorism. The bill is consistent with the COAG agreement, subject to the adjustments necessary for the Australian Capital Territory. It shows that it is possible to fully integrate respect for human rights with tough and effective counter-terrorism measures. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak) adjourned to the next sitting.

Electoral Amendment Bill 2006

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs, and Acting Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (10.57): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The purpose of the Electoral Amendment Bill 2006 that I am introducing today is to broaden the potential field of people who may be appointed as chairperson of the electoral commission. As members will be aware, the Electoral Act establishes the electoral system for the ACT. The electoral commission is established under the act as an independent statutory authority with responsibility for the conduct of elections and referendums for the ACT Legislative Assembly and the determination of electoral boundaries for the ACT, as well as the provision of electoral advice and services. This is an important and responsible role which ensures the high standard of the democratic process in the ACT. The commission is comprised of the Electoral Commissioner, the

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