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Andren challenges reasons for 'emergency' terror law.
Peter Andren MP - Independent Member for Calare
2 November 2005
Andren challenges reasons for ‘emergency’ terror law
Independent Member for Calare Peter Andren today challenged the reasons for the government rushing through a section of its controversial anti-terror laws with three hours notice, and calling back the Senate tomorrow to help pass it.
“The amendments were introduced mid-afternoon and passed within 45 minutes before going to the Senate,” Mr Andren, one of only five speakers, said.
“The Prime Minister said earlier today Australian intelligence authorities have received specific information about a potential terrorist threat.
“However the changes introduced to Parliament simply change the wording of the Criminal Code Act to refer to ‘a’ terrorist act instead of ‘the’ terrorist act.
“The Attorney General said it was important to make these changes to absolutely ensure there was no ambiguity in existing law.
“I have been advised by several legal experts that the changes are unnecessary, and it is ‘extraordinary’ to recall the Senate to make the changes.
“Apparently the government has been concerned about a threat for several days. It begs the question, why would ASIO, the Federal Police or State Police wait for the changing of ‘the’ to ‘a’ in legislation before acting on any threat?
“My legal advice today said there is no difference of legality between the two terms.
“There has been no raising of the terrorism alert from ‘medium’ and the government has waited until after the Melbourne Cup, after the Industrial relations bills were introduced, after a debate on a supposed Matter of Public Importance before introducing these amendments this afternoon. How immediate is the threat?
“I told parliament I am deeply sceptical about the government’s motives in introducing these amendments today. It seems to be more about political opportunism than policing,” Mr Andren said.
For further information: Peter Andren - 02 6277 2341 or 0419 612 891/Tim Mahony - 0427 480 825.