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Diplomatic and consular missions bill 1978



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(10) The Committee be provided with all necessary

staff, facilities and resources.

(11) The Committee or a sub-committee have power

to authorise publication of any evidence given before

it and any document presented to it.

(12) The Committee report by 31 December 1979 and

any member of the Committee have power to add a protest

or dissent to any report.

(13) The foregoing provisions of this Resolution,

so far as they are inconsistent with the Standing

Orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained

in the Standing-Orders. · ·

(14) A Message be sent to the- House of

Representatives acquainting it of this Resolution and

requesting that it concur and take action accordingly.

* * * * *

Page 155

DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR MISSIONS BILL 1978

. SECOND READING

Debate resumed from 7 June on motion by

Senator Withers:

That the bill be now read a second time.

SENATOR WRIEDT (Tasmania) (Page 155-56)

SENATOR MULVIHILL (N.S.W.) (Page 156-159)

163

SENATOR SIBRAA (N.S.W.) (Page 159-161)

SENATOR KNIGHT (A.C.T.) (Page 161-163)

SENATOR BUTTON (Victoria) (Page 163-165)

SENATOR HARRADINE (Tasmania) (Page 165-168)

SENATOR DURACK (Western Australia - Attorney-General)

(3.26) - This debate seems to have engendered a very

wide-ranging discussion, a great deal of which, if I

may say so with respect, has had little or nothing to

do with the Bill before the Senate. I thank honourable

senators for what appears to be their unanimous support

for the Bill. In a moment I ■■will say something about

the amendment to the motion for the second reading of

the Bill moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator

Wriedt). "I have not detected any issues on which I

think I need to comment to any extent. Senator Sibraa

suggested that in regard to conduct the Bill should

have a wider operation. Senator Knight answered that

proposal as effectively as could be done. Whilst

adopting his reply, I would merely add that to take the

definition of conduct further than it is taken in the

Bill would be fraught with considerable danger. I could

imagine that one could quickly get into a situation

where one might be interfering with the perpetuation of

the cultural interests and traditions of various groups

that have come to Australia, not only since the war

under our greatly expanded migration program but in

earlier times.

I view with some trepidation the kinds of

problems that might arise if we were to trespass upon

the province of the Caledonian or Hibernian societies.

One has to be particularly cautious in drafting

164

definitions in legislation of this character. I was

pleased to find that, obviously, Senator Button

recognised this and expressed the need for caution. At

one stage I wondered what relevance his contribution

had to this debate apart from a discussion he and I had

had about novels and novel reading recently, but it

transpired that he was making a very important point -

namely, that caution was needed even in the

administration by the Government of this legislation. I

accept that warning fully and, as the Attorney-General

is to be largely responsible for the enforcement of the

legislation, have taken it on board. I am sure it will

be observed. .

There has been a great deal of discussion

about related problems concerning the Croatian

community, dual nationality and so forth. Since these

matters have been raised specifically for my comment by

Senator Harradine, I would say that the Senate has long

been familiar with, and that many honourable senators

have taken particular interest in, the problems

relating to these matters; that there was a prolonged

debate beginning in the year to which he referred,

1973; that there was the establishment of a Senate

select committee; and that there were many debates and

a great deal of consideration. I would commend to

honourable senators who might be interested a perusal

of some of the proceedings before the Senate Select

Committee on the Civil Rights of Migrant Australians,

as it was called. A great deal of evidence was brought

to light. In the event, that Committee never reported

to the Senate: As a result of a double dissolution it

went out of existence, and was never revived. I merely

emphasise that the problems that have been raised today

have been debated in the Senate for a long period. A

great deal of information about them is in existence

and the Government is well aware of their problems.

165

One specific problem to which I might refer

is that which raises from dual nationality. That has

presented intractable difficulties, not just to this

Government but also to former governments. Efforts have

been made to do something about it. The Select

Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence has also given

it special consideration. The major question is how to

solve it.

I turn to the amendment by the Leader of the

Opposition, which calls on the Government to introduce

forthwith legislation which would have the effect of

closing the Rhodesian Information Office. I have been

tempted to submit that under Standing Order 139 the

amendment is out of order. It provides that every

amendment must- be relevant to the question to which it

is proposed to be made. However, I know that in the

Senate a .certain latitude is always extended to such

amendments. I will not submit that as a point of order,

although I confess to that temptation. The matter

referred to in the amendment really has nothing to do

with the Bill. Frequently, by way of amendment,

expressions of opinion are tacked on to the motion that

a Bill be read a second time, but invariably they have

some relevance to the subject matter of the Bill.

However, in my view, this is not so in this case. For

that reason alone, I believe that the Senate should

vote against it. That is the view of the Government.

The proposal is one to which the Government

has given a great deal of thought. It is certainly one

about which the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr

Peacock), whom I am representing in this chamber at the

moment, has had a good deal to say. I think I should

perhaps note for the record the Government's attitude

in relation to it. The Government had under

166

consideration for some time the continued operation of

the Rhodesian Information Centre. It has had in mind

its obligation in relation to Security Council

Resolution 409, which called on member states to take

action in relation to Rhodesian information offices.

The Government has also very much in mind the need to

protect the rights of individuals, especially in

relation to freedom of expression. Hence, the whole

matter requires the most careful and detailed

consideration before action is taken. That

consideration has not yet been completed. Therefore,

the Government will oppose the amendment which calls

for the taking of action forthwith. The Government

still has the matter under consideration. .

Amendment Negated Original Question resolved

in the affirmative Bill Read a Second time. In

Committee clauses 1-4 by leave taken together, and

agreed to Clause 5.

SENATOR WRIEDT (Tasmania) 169-170

SENATOR DURACK (Western Australia - Attorney-General)

(3.39) - The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Wriedt)

in moving his amendment certainly has raised a matter

which deserves careful consideration. He quite rightly

has said that simply because somebody has offended the

law it does not mean to say that we can have people

barging into premises and removing signs and so forth.

However, the position is that under the Diplomatic and

Consular Missions Bill as drawn I think the situation

is covered fairly thoroughly and an amendment of the

kind moved by Senator Wriedt is not necessary. Under

the Bill two steps are contemplated. Clause 4, which

the Committee has passed already, relates to

applications by the Attorney-General for injunctions to

restrain persons from certain conduct which is contrary

to the provisions and the purposes of the Bill.

If an injunction is made, clause 5 deals with

the actual enforcement of such an injunction. That is a

further step which has to be taken. If a court has

issued an injunction, under clause 5 the court may,

upon application made by the Attorney-General issue a

warrant authorising the sheriff, or a deputy sheriff,

and so on to remove the signs et cetera. That is the

part about which Senator Wriedt is concerned. So the

first step is the application for an injunction, then

the granting of an injunction and then another

application, namely an application for a warrant. I

think 'that in the ordinary circumstances what would

happen would be than an injunction would be given

unless there were some special reason for urgency. , I

concede that so far there has not been any indication

that there, might be any emergency which would create

urgency, but"we never know when such an emergency might

arise - in the normal case, the court having issued an

injunction, that injunction would be served and

inevitably time would be given by. that process for the

persons concerned to abide by the injunction. The only

purpose of clause 5 is to provide for a right to enter

premises only after application has been made for a

warrant to that effect, if a person is in fact in

defiance of the injunction.

I think that the usual and normal process

which we might expect the court to take even if there

is defiance of an injunction and the Attorney-General

had to go back to seek such a warrant, again there

would be time for the person concerned to take heed of

the injunction and to abide by it. So, what I am saying

really is that the provisions of the Bill as it stands

leave the matter to the discretion and to the ordinary

processes of the court. In the first stage an

injunction has to be issued and in the second stage a

168

warrant has to be issued by the court. The court is

then authorising, certainly in the second stage by

issuing a warrant, entry onto premises and the pulling

down of signs and so on. But I do think that, because

of the way the courts operate and by virtue of the

provisions I have outlined, there is ample scope to

protect persons from any really hasty or unwarranted

intrusion onto their premises or into their rights or

liberties. My feeling is that this matter can be safely

left to the discretion of the court.

* * * * *

SENATE NO. 13 .

22 August 1978

Page 291

■. CRIMES AT SEA BILL 1978

Motion (by SENATOR DURAQK) agreed to:

That leave be given to introduce a Bill for

an Act relating to offences committed at sea or in

foreign ports or harbours, and matters connected

therewith.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Standing orders suspended.

SECOND READING

SENATOR DURACK (Western Australia - Attorney-General)

(3.14) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.