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Ruddock says AFP to decide on Hicks control o -

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Ruddock says AFP to decide on Hicks control order

Broadcast: 20/05/2007

Reporter: Barrie Cassidy

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock is the Minister who has had the carriage of much of the David Hicks
saga along the way. It fell to him to sign the papers officially handing over custodial
responsibility from the United States to Australia.


BARRIE CASSIDY: And now to the Minister who has had the carriage of much of the David Hicks saga
along the way, the Attorney-General Philip Ruddock. It fell to him to sign the papers officially
handing over custodial responsibility from the United States to Australia. He joins us now from

(to Philip Ruddock) Minister, good morning.


BARRIE CASSIDY: Do you attach any special significance to this day, to the event, to the return of
David Hicks to Australia?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, it's part of a process and he is a prisoner being transferred back to
Australia to serve out a sentence, and that will happen.

BARRIE CASSIDY: A bit more though than just a prisoner because there's obviously a lot of media
interest in this, and to an extent, isn't the Government to blame for that because the lack of
action, the lack of concern for so long elevated David Hicks to the story that it is today?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, it's interesting if you read Leigh Sales' book, I think you'll understand
that the government was very active in trying to get resolution for this matter, well in advance of
perhaps the public recognition that that activity was occurring.

BARRIE CASSIDY: He pleaded guilty of course, so how would you describe him? Would you describe him
as a dangerous person, a menace, or is he a deluded person?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, really I don't know, and I can't form a personal view in relation to those
matters. What I can say is that the offences for which he has been convicted are now offences under
our law.

In other words, if people train with terrorist organisations - and that is training to learn how to
attack civilian populations and use weapons, the logistics and so on in relation to mounting
terrorist attacks, and all of this was part and parcel of the activity in which he was engaged -
those matters are offences under our law, they carry penalties of up to 25 years penal servitude.

We regard them as very serious issues, and when somebody has been convicted by way of his own plea
of guilty of those types of offences, you're dealing with a person about whom we have to be
obviously quite concerned.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Yeah, I think all that's a given. But if he'd been innocent, he would have gone
through the same process. An innocent man would have been held at Guantanamo Bay without trial for
five years.

PHILIP RUDDOCK: And the fact is that there are people held in our legal system, very long periods
of time as they explore the limits of the law to test the lawfulness of the process under which
they are being dealt with, and sometimes those procedures take a long time.

One of the points I've made frequently about the process in the United States is that he was
availing himself of the opportunity to test matters in the American legal system, and that system
was capable of making independent judgments about those questions.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But even allowing for that, you couldn't point to a case in the courts in Australia
where somebody had been denied a trial for five years?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: I can talk about a situation in which a person in Australia was detained in jail
until he was finally convicted, and that period took five years, yes.

BARRIE CASSIDY: So, if you had your time over again, would you have done anything differently?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well look, in relation to these issues, I might have wanted to make it perhaps
better known and the level of concern that the Government had and the way in which we were
continuously making representations to the United States to bring the process of dealing with him

But it was important to look at the initial period. Their focus in the United States after
September 11 was identifying people who they believed had been involved in planning terrorist
attacks. They wanted to get them out of the way, they put them in Guantanamo Bay.

It took something like two years before they decided to set up the military commission process.
That process was challenged right up to the Supreme Court. There was some technical flaws in
relation to it, they had to legislate again, they did.

And all of those processes took time. We would have liked to have seen it happen much earlier. We
complained frequently about it.

BARRIE CASSIDY: In the end though, do you think the whole image of Guantanamo Bay simply served as
a recruitment tool for terrorists?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, I don't believe so. I think in these matters ... I mean the idea that we are
responsible for terrorism, by our responses to terrorists acts, I think distorts the arguments very

I don't believe we're in any way responsible for the fact that there is an organisation like Al
Qaeda that sees the killing and targeting of innocent civilians in pursuit of whatever objectives
it has as being appropriate.

It's ... there is no way that you can simply lie over and hope that if people have trained something
like 10,000 or more people to engage in acts of these kinds - and that's what Al Qaeda was doing
before September 11 - that you can ignore it. You do so at your peril.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But even so if you get the concept of the military commission, if you get it wrong
first time around, and yet only the conventional courts have convicted people of terrorism, then it
doesn't help the court surely?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, military commissions were known to the American justice system over a long
period of time. I think it's been derided quite significantly by those who are not familiar with

But one of the points I've made about that system is that the Americans treat their military
justice system very seriously. It is part of their system of law. People like Major Mori
participate in defending people and nobody could complain about the way in which he as a military
officer - who believes in that military justice system, participated in it - and I think to bring
into question the motives of others who have a proper role to play has been very unfair to that

BARRIE CASSIDY: What happens to David Hicks now beyond this year? Obviously there will be some sort
of surveillance, but is it now the responsibility of the Federal Police to apply to you as the
Attorney-General if they want a control order?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Controls orders are sought by the Australian Federal Police. I have a role in
relation to that process, so I won't comment on whether or not it would be appropriate. They
produce the evidence that they think justifies a control order.

If consent is given for them to apply, it goes before a judicial officer and a judicial officer
ultimately determines whether or not it would be granted. So, I don't know whether or not the
Australian Federal Police would seek a control order.

What I do know is that they couldn't do so until Mr Hicks is within the Australian jurisdiction,
and so it would be quite inappropriate to be contemplating that up until now.

BARRIE CASSIDY: If a control order is granted down the track, to what extent would that limit his
ability to move around?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, you have to look at the one control order that has been granted if you want
to get an idea of the sort of measures that the police believe are appropriate, and they go to a
requirement that you live in a particular place, they go to reporting issues, they go to whom you
can contact, they go to the numbers of telephones you might have and requirement to provide
information about the numbers that are made available to you.

BARRIE CASSIDY: What about Jack Roche? He is out after serving four-and-a-half years for plotting
to blow up the Israeli embassy, is he going to be the subject of a control order?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, the point I made about Roche is that he's subject to parole. And there are
conditions associated with that parole. He has been subjected to the normal parole conditions in
Western Australia, and in addition to that there were requirements identified by the Australian
Federal Police, which I haven't detailed and won't be detailed, but we're part of the parole

BARRIE CASSIDY: The West Australian Attorney-General Jim McGinty said - fairly obviously I would
have thought - that many terrorists are unhinged, and he said that he hopes that the federal
authorities will protect the community. Are you satisfied the community will be protected?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: What I am satisfied is that the justice system has worked as intended - a person
went before a court, was convicted, he was given a period of sentence which included a nonparole
period. There was provision for parole, he has been paroled under conditions which require
supervision and there are additional conditions that have been imposed at the request of the
Australian Federal Police, and of course the purpose of those is to ensure the safety of the
Australian community.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Now you're obviously satisfied that the law allows you to stop David Hicks from
making a profit from his story. He nevertheless beyond this year is able to tell his story, and
then sell it for charity?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, he's free to tell his story. And I've made the point that while there were
conditions imposed as part of the plea bargain, they were matters between him and the United
States, they don't involve us.

And I don't believe there is a basis upon which if he breached those conditions - that is if he
told aspects of his experience, that we would be ... we would be delivering him up because of that,
and I mean that's the bottom line.

I mean we are of the view that he is free once he has concluded his penal servitude to speak as he
wishes, but not to profit, and the position is quite clear. People who commit serious criminal
offences should not be able to profit from those matters by writing about them after they've been

BARRIE CASSIDY: I just want to ask you about the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation)
conference in Sydney in September. Is this going to be the biggest security operation that this
country has seen?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Look, it will be comparable to many that we have seen: the Sydney Olympics, the
Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting), the
Commonwealth leaders conference that took place in the Sunshine Coast.

But 21 national leaders from the United States, China, Russia, there are people who .... whose
security concerns are of a major importance and that makes it a situation where we have to put a
lot of effort in.

And the Commonwealth has I think, in relation to the APEC leaders' conference committed something
of the order of $169 million to the running of it and the security arrangement. I think $78 million
has been provided to the New South Wales Police who will have the primary operational concerns to
ensure that it is a safe event.

BARRIE CASSIDY: And I presume there are all sorts of dry runs going on at the moment to test the

PHILIP RUDDOCK: There are and that is appropriate. The ... I mean Scotland Yard said after the London
bombings that the most important aspect of their experience was the extent to which they had
exercised before that tragedy occurred and knew their roles and responses, and we've been doing

We had a major exercise, Blue Luminary, which has taken place in two tranches, a two week exercise
which involved a lot of desk programs with all of the officers who would be undertaking the various
responsibilities, right through to senior members of the Cabinet and the National Security
Committee, a meeting that took place on Thursday this week.

It was a very important part of the process to ensure that we all know what our responsibilities
would be against a range of scenarios.

BARRIE CASSIDY: So, as they go through that process do they test the snap judgments of the Attorney

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, it is a process in which we go through what our particular roles would be and
if there...

BARRIE CASSIDY: How did you fare?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, I guess there will be a debriefing later, and I might even be told about it.
But at this stage there wasn't an off the cuff judgment.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Ok, obviously you're recontesting your seat at the next election, you still feel
you have something to offer?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Look, I am very strongly of the view that you should only be in public life if you
believe you can make a difference and if you'd like me to spend another 10 minutes on the program,
I'll take you through the measures that I've been implementing in relation to family law, the
harmonisation of laws, the new measures that we're putting in place with personal securities.

BARRIE CASSIDY: I'm sure you've explained that to the preselection committee already. But if the
Coalition loses, will you serve out the full term in Opposition?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Look, my view is you should. But I'm not hypothesising what may or may not happen.
I believe that I can make a positive contribution. I've always put that in the hands of the leader,
the Prime Minister, to determine if we're in government and equally if we're in opposition, I would
offer myself to serve in the best interests of the party.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Thanks for your time this morning.