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Thursday, 21 March 2013
Page: 2965


Ms ROWLAND (Greenway) (13:58): For all the yelling this week about rights being inhibited, individual rights being inhibited and about the Liberal Party standing up for rights, yesterday the New South Wales Liberals abolished the right to silence—the most disgraceful thing to ever happen to the judicial system in New South Wales!

Opposition members interjecting

Ms ROWLAND: This week they have lectured us about civil liberties—lectured us about freedom of speech. And what do their mates do in New South Wales? Abolish the right to silence. One law to abolish—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! Members on my left will be quiet!

Ms ROWLAND: the right to silence, allowing individual juries to draw an adverse inference if people accused of a crime chose not to take part in police interviews but later relied on evidence they did not disclose.

The right to silence since time immemorial has provided significant legal safeguards for people who come before the justice system, especially those who are vulnerable—people like Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders who suffer some of the worst rates of incarceration in this country. But what do the Liberals do? Abolish the right to silence that will see even more Aboriginal people get incarcerated. Those on that side of the House are very big on talk when it comes to their little civil liberties bandwagons, but when it comes to putting their money where their mouths are, they abolish the right to silence—a fundamental right in New South Wales, gone. It is a disgrace.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Can I remind individuals—

An honourable member: It's going to be an easy day today!

The SPEAKER: The member for Herbert is warned!

Mr Ewen Jones interjecting

The SPEAKER: It was not you? It sounded like you as usual. But can I remind members that latitude and tolerance is not something I intend giving today, of all days, and numerous people here may want it more than anything—and the person who has just taken the photograph, even if it was unintentional, is warned! That is an absolute abuse of every principle in this chamber.