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Wednesday, 11 December 2002
Page: 7680


Senator NETTLE (10:11 AM) —I would like to respond to the minister's comment that he does not believe that this legislation would allow for the detention of innocent people. That is quite clearly what this legislation sets out to do: detain nonsuspects—that is, people who have not come before a court, whom a court has not found guilty or who the court has not determined are, under reasonable grounds, even suspected of being involved in terrorist activity. This piece of legislation is designed specifically to detain those people.

Perhaps the minister does not imagine that the example I put forward about a landlord would encompass one of those innocent people being caught in the legislation. Perhaps the minister can provide us with another example of those that he imagines will be caught in this legislation, because that is exactly what this legislation is about. It is about catching innocent people—nonsuspects, people that we do not even assume to have been involved in any terrorist activity—and bringing them in. As the government firstly put forward, it will be an open-ended detention regime. That is something we have not see in other countries which are responding to an increased threat of terrorism. We simply have not seen that put forward in any other country and we have not seen from the government, from the Attorney-General's Department or from ASIO, arguments put forward as to why in Australia we need legislation that goes far further than anything put forward in the United States or the United Kingdom.

Why is it that the minister believes that Australians who are not suspected of being involved in terrorist activities need to be detained indefinitely by ASIO with no right to silence? Why is it that the government is proposing this sort of legislation, completely superseding anything else that has been introduced by comparable countries—such as the United States and the United Kingdom— in response to these concerns? Perhaps the minister would like to give us another example of some of the other innocent people and nonsuspects who will be caught by this legislation and whom this legislation is specifically designed to entrap.