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Thursday, 17 October 2002
Page: 5407

Senator ELLISON (Minister for Justice and Customs) (3:20 PM) —In my absence on Tuesday last, Senator Vanstone took questions from Senator Faulkner and Senator Ludwig in relation to the review of antiterrorism legislation and counter-terrorism assets. The Attorney-General has provided the following answer. I table the answer and seek leave to incorporate it in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows

In the wake of the tragic events in Bali—the Government has announced a review of both the adequacy of domestic terrorist legislation and our counter-terrorism capacity.

While both were recently reviewed, the terrorist attack in Bali makes another such review a matter of responsibility to all Australians.

As the Prime Minister has indicated it could be necessary to further strengthen our domestic security laws in light of the Bali terrorist incident, but until that review is complete, it is not appropriate to hypothesise on the outcomes.

I would remind the Senate that the terrorism package passed in June did not include all the elements which the Howard Government regarded as necessary and appropriate at the time.

It may be that there is a need to revisit some of these provisions. If so, that will be the subject of further examination and ultimately, debate, in Parliament.

It would be irresponsible of the Government not to do everything within its power to ensure the safety and security of its citizens.

We must make sure that we are in the best position possible to identify, prevent and punish those responsible for terrorist acts and those planning terrorist acts.

The Government is committed to doing just that.