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Wednesday, 11 December 2002
Page: 7683


Senator HARRIS (10:29 AM) —I rise to speak to the group of Labor amendments before the chamber at the moment. Before I do that, I will briefly comment on the issue that Senator Brown has raised, and that is that we are not speaking about the correct use of this legislation; we are saying that should a person decide to misuse this legislation for political purposes—and this is no reflection on any existing minister or parliamentarian—then the ability is there to act. I believe that that is the point Senator Brown is raising very clearly.

To recap One Nation's position as stated yesterday, we believe that the only alternative is to vote this legislation down. Having said that, I recognise the merit in the opposition's amendments. Yesterday an amendment was successful in bringing in a sunset clause. One of the very important amendments that the opposition is moving in this particular group relates to substituting a four-hour period under which the prescribed authority, who is the person appointed and given the authority to look after the rights of the person being interrogated, will every four hours during the questioning advise that person that they may seek from the Federal Court a remedy relating to the warrant. This is extremely important because, under the government's proposal, they only have to do that once in 24 hours. If you can imagine the intensity of an investigation of a person, a 24-hour period is a considerable length of time to be under intense interrogation. Therefore, I believe that Labor's amendment to bring that back to a four-hour period, in which the person who is overseeing that investigation must again reiterate to the person who is being interviewed that they have a right to seek a remedy through the Federal Court, is important.

To recap, One Nation does oppose this legislation and believes it should be voted down, but it also respects and accepts the Labor Party's position in trying to do something to improve the legislation. Of all of the amendments, with the inclusion of the sunset clause, I believe the amendment I have referred to is absolutely critical. I indicate that One Nation will support it.