Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 November 2017) . . Page.. 5278 ..
Under the bill, when an organisation is declared a criminal organisation that declaration remains in force for five years, unless that declaration is removed or revoked. This follows the model adopted in New South Wales. In 2015 New South Wales extended the length of the durations of declarations in its criminal control organisations regime from three years to five years. The New South Wales Legislation Review Committee made the following comments about extending the duration of the declaration of five years:
The proposal to extend the duration of a declaration from three to five years, with its attendant effects that control orders are placed on individuals who may have neither been charged nor convicted of any serious indictable crime, may be considered a breach of the presumption of innocence, and pre-judicial punishment.
I believe these comments equally apply to the bill we are considering today. In summary, the Greens do not believe the bill will have the effect that Mr Hanson intends. The experience of New South Wales and the comments of the Chief Police Officer demonstrate that criminal organisation control regimes have not been effective in other jurisdictions and therefore are unlikely to be effective in the ACT.
I acknowledge the considerable work Mr Hanson has done on this bill and the adjustments he has made to the legislation in response to feedback from the ACT Human Rights Commissioner. The result is that we now have a bill that is human rights compliant but unlikely to be effective. That conclusion highlights the fundamental issues regarding laws that seek to target people based on association issues. To prepare a bill that is human rights compliant requires so many safeguards that it raises doubts about the efficacy of the legislation. To draft a bill that seeks the outcomes Mr Hanson intends seems destined to so severely impinge on personal freedoms and community expectations that the Greens would be unlikely to accept it. For me, this evident conflict reinforces the position the Greens have adopted for some time now: that we are unwilling to support legislation that criminalises people for whom they associate with and that, instead, we should target the offending behaviour. This is important to keep in mind when considering legislation which targets OMCG activity.
In that vein, the Greens believe that the measures the government is taking, including the bill passed yesterday, are much more targeted and will be more effective at disrupting OMCG activity in Canberra whilst finding a suitable balance when it comes to civil liberties, which are such an important part of the conversation when we are talking about criminal legislation. For the reasons I have outlined today, the Greens will be unable to support Mr Hanson’s bill.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (4.42): The ACT government, together with ACT Policing, continues to develop practical, legislative and operational measures to address the activities of criminal gangs in the ACT. A key priority for this government is disrupting and dismantling organised criminal groups. The