Page 4583 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 18 October 2011

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I would like to thank all members for their contribution to this debate, and I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.23), by leave: I move amendments Nos 1 to 6 circulated in my name together [see schedule 1 at page 4596].

As I alluded to in my earlier remarks, the amendments I am putting forward on behalf of the Greens would omit preventative detention from the act on the basis that the powers are an unjustified intrusion into long-held freedoms. I am arguing that the powers are unjustified because once you begin to peel away the layers of arguments, somewhat like an onion, you are drawn to the conclusion that the powers are unjustified.

I think there are two issues here. The first is that preventative detention orders in themselves are an unnecessary breach of our freedoms and civil liberties. The second is the clear argument that there are a range of alternative powers and strong powers throughout the counter-terrorism laws, both in the ACT and at the commonwealth level, that ensure that both the ACT and the commonwealth have all the mechanisms they need in order to prevent terrorist acts.

I have spoken already to some extent as to why I think preventative detention orders are a bad idea, and as to some of the comments that were made previously. When you start to work through some of these things and get into the details, they reveal some very interesting concepts. For example, preventative detention is seen as a powerful tool, but a suspect who is actually taken in under preventative detention is actually, by legislation, unable to be questioned. So if the purpose of taking someone off the streets is to help to prevent the terrorist offence, presumably, we want the police to be able to seek further information from them to draw in accomplices, to garner further information on the possible nature of the offence, how it is going to take place and when it is going to take place. But because the legislation expressly prohibits someone from being questioned, actually taking somebody into preventative detention seems like an odd thing to want to do, aside from the fact that people are not charged in any way.

Of course, it is ironic that the reason the ACT had to legislate for this is because it would not be possible under the federal constitution. I think that in itself should give members pause for thought as to whether they are keen to continue to support this in ACT legislation.

I have argued extensively in the explanatory statement that went with our proposed amendments that there are significant alternative powers. We have identified a

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