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Tuesday, 23 September 1997
Page: 6768


Senator BOLKUS(6.29 p.m.) —If the Democrats are really concerned about the balance between civil liberties and the concern in the community as to who would issue these warrants and enforcement, then they would have voted for the previous amendment.

You have opened the floodgates now. You have given the government permission to go broader than judges and now you are saying, `Although we have said you can do that, we would actually like you not to do it.' Come on, give it a break! you are actually living in the real world here. What you have done by supporting the previous vote that we had in this place was to allow exactly what you are now saying should not happen. How about some consistency?

We cannot go back to that vote—I know that—but you have let the public down in terms of your position on that previous vote. The arguments are all there, but you had some fear, formulated and fermented by the government, about traditional officers not doing the job. Now you are saying, `Well, they may have a rethink. They may wake up tomorrow morning and think it's not such a bad thing to do after all. We will do it.' You have been told consistently that this has been on the ambit claim agenda for four or five years; and, despite it being on the ambit claim agenda, some 740 warrants or more have been issued over the last full financial year.

The judges have been explicit: some of them do not want to do it. That is what has led to the government putting this up. Now you are saying, `Well, okay. After four years of not wanting to do it, they might wake up tomorrow. Just in case they do wake up tomorrow, we will have subclauses (6), (6) again, (5) and (10).'

Really, we are seeing an enormous overdose of naivety on this particular issue, Senator Murray, I am sorry to say. If you have those concerns, then you could have done something about it some 15 or 20 minutes ago. I said at the start that the opposition would support your amendments 4, 8 and 10 as a matter of principle. I think Senator Cooney has a legitimate point with respect to the second part of each of those amendments. I say that at this stage, but would like to hear what the government says about them before we take a final vote.