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Wednesday, 11 December 2002
Page: 7707


Senator NETTLE (12:38 PM) —I want to give the Australian Greens' position on this raft of amendments relating to the right to request an interpreter. As Senator Faulkner pointed out, this is an example of the government taking up one of the recommendations of the Legal and Constitutional References Committee report. It is a good recommendation and I think the proposal put forward by Senator Greig to amend the government's proposal takes in the intention of the committee's recommendation, which was to allow for someone questioned and detained under this regime to request an interpreter. That was the committee's clear intention with this recommendation.

The government's amendment is well drafted to incorporate the opportunity to stop questioning and then to continue—the opportunity, if questioning has begun, to go back, once the interpreter arrives, and lay out the rights of the individual being questioned and detained. But paragraph (2) of government amendment (18) negates the intention of the committee's recommendation, which was to allow the person being questioned to be able to request their own interpreter. We will be supporting the government's amendment and we will be supporting the Democrat amendment to the government's amendment (18).