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Tuesday, 7 December 2004
Page: 20


Senator LUDWIG (1:46 PM) —by leave—I move opposition amendments (1) to (3) on sheet 4464:

(1) Schedule 1, item 1, page 3 (line 14), omit “thing”, substitute “prescribed thing”.

(2) Schedule 1, page 3 (after line 20), after item 1, insert:

1A Section 35

Insert:

prescribed thing means a thing, including any substance that is prescribed by regulation under this Act.

(3) Schedule 1, item 3, page 3 (line 30), omit “thing”, substitute “prescribed thing”.

These amendments have the desired effect of ensuring that the word `thing' provides for parliamentary review. They ensure that that word can be prescribed by regulation under this act. There is always a consideration that, by regulation, the parliament can review any regulations that are subsequently made. The amendments do not confine the government's ability to ensure that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2004 is effective. They provide good public policy to ensure that review can be done quickly and that things can be added to the list of prescribed matters to ensure that the legislation is contemporary. They also allow the parliament to oversight the federal executive to ensure that they do not overreach their positions and do not start prescribing things which might seem out of the ordinary or not relevant without some justification. These things can always be added with a bit of justification, a bit of explanation, from the executive as to why they are required. Providing that justification will ensure that such things can be dealt with properly and appropriately.

I seek the government's support for these amendments. I think they are sound. They do provide good public policy. They do ensure that there is flexibility within the legislation and that the population, the general public, can feel assured that there is oversight remaining with the government on what may be regarded by some as quite extensive legislation. On those short points, I seek the government's and the Democrats' support.