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Thursday, 31 August 2000
Page: 17069


Senator BROWN (12:31 PM) —We are dealing with guns and answering it with blancmange. That is what the opposition's amendments are. Senator Bourne is absolutely right. A review that takes place here does not even have to have public input. `A review'—no specifications about it at all. Senator Bourne is absolutely right. This is legislation that was predicated on the Olympics; Lt. Gen. Cosgrove has said so again in the last couple of days. We should, therefore, be having a sunset clause to it and then a full debate about the ramifications of this legislation on a whole range of potential civilian situations in the coming century and on the balance under the constitution and between the states.

By the way—and I will get on to this later, Mr Temporary Chairman—I believe that there are eminent grounds here for a challenge to this legislation, because it is in breach of the Constitution. I have had advice on that from Mr Gary Corr, a barrister in Canberra, and there are other legal minds who believe the same. But we will keep that for later in the debate. I wholeheartedly agree with Senator Bourne. This is a very unsatisfactory amendment. It has to be read in conjunction, though—and I am sure Senator Faulkner will understand this—with the fact that Labor is about to vote down the sunset clause provisions put by the various parties in this corner of the House.


Senator Faulkner —I spoke about our approach on that. I am not denying we are going to vote down the sunset clause. We don't want to get back to tanks rolling down the street.


Senator BROWN —I have not got any assurance that the tanks cannot roll down the street under this legislation. That is what worries me.


Senator Faulkner —They have got to come a long way from where they are at the moment.


Senator BROWN —That is what worries me. We are dealing with a real piece of legislation here which is not about the Olympics, which is about events that could unfold under a non-benign federal regime, government or set of politicians somewhere down the line. That is what we are dealing with, and that is what we should be concentrating on here. If we do not focus on that we make a mistake, and I am afraid Labor is not focusing on that potential.



Senator BROWN —You would not have an amendment like this before us as a review.



Senator BROWN —Like Senator Bourne said, it is all we are left with—because we are not going to get her proposal for a review and we are not going to get a sunset clause. We have here the potential for a review which could be an independent review held entirely in private without public input.