Page 394 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 4 March 2008

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have more chance of rejecting the legislation. Consequently, I will support this amendment.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (12.15): The government will not be supporting this amendment. Indeed, I find Dr Foskey’s position somewhat curious because this amendment is predicated on there being no duty on public authorities to abide by human rights principles. Effectively, the Liberal Party is suggesting that the legislation should commence immediately, certainly after its notification. The whole point of the delay in commencement date is to provide public authorities with the opportunity to review their practices and procedures and make sure they are ready to abide by their obligations under the act. The government does not support this amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 to 6, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 7.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (12.17): I will be opposing this clause. It is worth now, for Mr Mulcahy’s benefit in particular, reiterating some of what I had to say in my speech as to the reason for our opposition to this clause. The first thing to say is that we do support human rights. Simply because we do not agree with the government on the mechanism for best achieving human rights does not change that fact, and will not change that fact. We support human rights. We support the right of all Canberrans to live in a safe community. We support the right of all Canberrans to their basic civil liberties.

We have had differences in the past over the mechanism to achieve that. Mr Mulcahy raised the issue of whether or not in fact a Human Rights Act is actually necessary to protect those fundamental human rights. The discussion about the trickle versus a flood of litigation does lead us to suggest that perhaps there were not significant problems before. Alternatively, it says to us that the Human Rights Act is relatively useless. The fundamental point that we are making in opposing this clause is that you should actually try and get the current legislation to work properly before you go and undertake a significant expansion. I think that is a reasonable principle. The Human Rights Act, as it is now, should be properly reviewed next year prior to significant expansion of its operation. That is fundamentally why we are opposing the clause.

We have seen some of the issues with the Human Rights Act, as it is now. Mr Mulcahy referred to the individuals in Reid who have had significant problems with the bureaucracy and have been hounded. The Human Rights Act has been absolutely no good to them in their dealings with government agencies.

We have seen the outrageous legislation that the government brought in some time ago in relation to the health tribunal which would allow the president or a member of

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