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Government and Labor huddle as Democrats dig in over anti-terrorist laws.

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Senator Brian Greig Australian Democrats Spokesperson for Law and Justice

16 May 2002 MEDIA RELEASE 02/245

Government and Labor huddle as Democrats dig in over Anti-Terrorist Laws

The Government has been forced into backroom negotiations with Labor on its anti-terrorism legislation as the Australian Democrats refuse to support the Bills.

The legislation has been bumped off the legislative program and is now unlikely to be debated during the current sitting of Parliament.

Democrats Law and Justice spokesperson, Senator Brian Greig, says it seems the ALP had taken Democrats support for its proposed amendments to the legislation for granted.

“These laws are draconian, unnecessary and threaten the civil liberties of all Australians. They should be abandoned and the whole process should start from scratch,” Senator Greig said.

“The Democrats would enthusiastically support balanced legislation which addressed any deficiencies in Australian law in relation to terrorism, but such deficiencies are yet to be demonstrated.

“We oppose these bills because of the haste with which they were formed, the very limited public and parliamentary scrutiny to which they were subjected, the failure of the Government to demonstrate any urgency or critical need for them and the dangers all this presents to good governance and civil liberties.

“This whole process should begin again, with the starting point being authorities such as ASIO, the NCA, the Federal Police and the Attorney General’s Department, first identifying those areas of existing law that are inadequate to address terrorism,” Senator Greig said.

Contacts: Senator Brian Greig, 02) 6277 3338 or Di Graham on 0417 177 523