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Statement on release of draft anti-terror laws.
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DEMOCRATS MEDIA SATURDAY 15 OCTOBER 2005
SENATOR NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS ATTORNEY-GENERALS SPOKESPERSON
STATEMENT ON RELEASE OF DRAFT ANTI-TERROR LAWS “I commend ACT Chief Minister John Stanhope on his decision to publish the Government’s draft Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005,” Democrats’ Attorney-Generals Spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said.
“We now get to see exactly what the Government is trying to ram through the Senate.
“This is one of the most significant pieces of legislation this year, if not the last ten years. It is contemptible that the Government thinks that one day is enough to allow adequate public scrutiny and input. The Government must support my amendment, currently before the Senate and awaiting a division, to extend the reporting date of the Committee to November 28.
“While the Government claims the Bill is a work in progress, the underhand way it is attempting to limit scrutiny represents a disturbing contempt of the democratic process.
“These are proposed laws that allow for the detention of non-suspects, allow an individual to be punished, not for what they may have done, but for membership of a group.
“Control orders will mean that individual Australians could be forced to wear tracking devices, barred from using the telephone or internet, or confined to their homes.
“New sedition offences will mean an individual can be jailed for up to seven years if they “promote feelings of ill-will or hostility between different groups” or “urge disaffection against the Constitution or the Government of the Commonwealth”. This is needlessly and dangerously ambiguous.
“This legislation appears to contain a newly defined right to kill when an AFP officer believes on “reasonable grounds” that it is necessary to protect the life or safety of others. This incudes a person attempting to escape custody by fleeing. This needs clarification. [Relevant section attached]
“Currently, the use of lethal force is limited to situations in which the officer’s life or someone else’s life, is under direct threat.
“This is frighteningly reminiscent of the death of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes who was shot while attempting to flee plain clothed British police. This case demonstrates in the most chilling manner possible that even if you have done nothing wrong you can still have a great deal to fear.
“The proposals in this Bill are complex and frighteningly ambiguous. The Australian people deserve every opportunity to scrutinise this attack on civil liberty,” Senator Stott Despoja said.
Media contact: Raina Hunter - 0417 085 260