Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 10 December 2002
Page: 7634


Senator FAULKNER (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (10:26 PM) —In the few short minutes I have got, I will try to respond to Senator Brown's reasonable question to the opposition. Both in the original bill and in the bill as grudgingly amended in the House, the government has very stubbornly stuck to the basic model that it proposed on day one. That model contemplates allowing children to be detained for an extended period and to be questioned by ASIO. It contemplates allowing someone not suspected of any offence to be detained for seven days, including for 48 hours without a lawyer. Even after questioning has finished, a person not suspected of any offence can be detained for seven days.

The radical model proposed by the government is still at the core of the amended bill. I say it is still a detention regime. The government says it is for gathering intelligence. If that is so, then people should be released once questioning finishes. But of course, that is not the case. The government originally wanted to detain them for an unlimited period. Now they have grudgingly wound that back to seven days. Detaining people is a police function, and that is not what this bill should be about. The opposition amendments ensure the bill is about intelligence gathering and questioning, not about detention.

The government uses the words `detention' and `detain' in many contexts, but it uses them primarily to justify detaining people after questioning has finished—that is, they are detained for some other purpose. We have chosen the word `custody' and used it sparingly to indicate the nature of the situation that a person is in when they are being questioned over a period of time. The only purpose of custody under the opposition's model—under these proposed opposition amendments—is for questioning. That is the crucial difference. The critical difference here is the purpose of the custody. The purpose is questioning, not detention. It is intelligence gathering, not detention.

Progress reported.