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Tuesday, 25 June 2002
Page: 2566

Senator BROWN (5:23 PM) —We debated government amendments (5) and (8) at length last night, so I am not going to take much of the committee's time except to again express my concern that there is not an exclusion clause here for people who are acting in a way which includes fasting. The committee is obviously going to agree with the government, because the government will have the support of the ALP in this. All I can say is that it is very worrying to trespass on a whole field of traditional protest which has made our society the better, which marks our society as a vigorous democracy which involves inclusion of a broad range of ideas, which is not restrictive, not militaristic, not coercive and, hopefully, where people are acting in a non-criminal fashion—non-punitive. I think when a future government comes to object to whatever point of view those people are putting forward we will now have a punitive arrangement for people involved in such things as fasting. These amendments are of course aimed at improving and do improve the government's first run at this legislation, which was quite frankly horrendous, but they do not improve it far enough.