Page 1112 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 28 March 2017
that currently exist on the statute books. Although the Human Rights Act says that everyone has freedom of association, it also makes it very clear that there can be limitations on that. There are many limitations; we discussed that at annual reports hearings. Today, the government is further expanding those non-association laws.
The bill’s explanatory statement talks about this issue. It says:
The Bill will allow the court to order a non-association and place restriction order (NAPRO) for people convicted of firearms trafficking or manufacturing offences (punishable by imprisonment for 20 years) and the offence of money laundering (punishable by imprisonment for 10 years). A non-association order prohibits an offender from being with a named person or communicating with the person. A place restriction order prohibits an offender from being in, or within a stated distance of, a named place or area or attempting to be in, or within the stated distance, of the place or area.
The explanatory statement is even more explicit when it states:
The purpose of the limitation on the right to freedom of movement and association is to protect the safety of members of the community by enhancing ACT Policing’s ability to disrupt organised crime in the ACT, with a specific focus on the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs. The limitation will also assist in protecting certain victims from the convicted offender and will be instrumental in removing negative influences from the offender’s life, providing them with an opportunity to rehabilitate.
It then provides further justification:
The nature and extent of the limitation is proportionate to the risk posed by members of organised criminal groups, or other serious offenders, being with other people or in a location that has the potential to facilitate further offending. It is reasonable that an offender convicted of a serious firearm or money-laundering offence should be subject to restrictions on their movements and associations while on a good behaviour order … An aim of these orders is … to prevent an offender from harassing or endangering the safety or welfare of anyone and if there is a risk of further offending, the limitation on these rights is arguably not extensive in comparison.
Let me say that again.
… the limitation on these rights is arguably not extensive in comparison.
The relationship between the limitation and its purpose has been carefully balanced to ensure that any engagement is as minimal as possible in circumstances that potentially carry a significant risk to the community, and also to the convicted offender in terms of potential reoffending. The limitation on the right to freedom of association and movement is legitimate to ensure that the convicted offender is given the best chance possible to rehabilitate, and to protect community safety.