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Thursday, 25 September 2014
Page: 7102

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (11:54): I wish to make a brief statement in relation to the Selection of Bills Committee report. The government's Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill is a significant piece of legislation with serious implications for the rights and freedoms of Australians. I welcome the decision to hold a concurrent inquiry into this legislation through the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee. This way, the Greens and the crossbenchers, who represent a significant proportion of Australians, will have the opportunity to scrutinise this important bill.

I will, however, make it clear that the time frame for inquiry and report is simply inadequate. Submitters to the government's first tranche of national security legislation struggled to analyse and provide comment on the complex legislation in the short time frame provided. We must listen to the dispassionate, independent commentators in this space who are expert at understanding the implications of legislation like this. These include the Law Council of Australia, the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and the civil liberties councils across Australia. Many have serious concerns about this bill and the previous national security legislation. The government must stop trying to rush this legislation through the parliament, whipping up fear in the community and making what are very significant changes to our national security legislation without adequate scrutiny. These organisations say we need two months to do justice to the complexity involved here. I urge the Senate to heed their advice.

Question agreed to.