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Tuesday, 10 December 2002
Page: 7608

Senator HARRIS (7:57 PM) —I rise to indicate that One Nation will support the opposition amendment for a sunset clause. I will start my remarks by looking at the title of the legislation. The bill is titled the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Bill 2002. As Senator Ray so eloquently put the argument, we have an organisation that is primarily in place to ensure the security of Australia, through its ability to use intelligence. What the government is doing with this legislation is taking that organisation and giving it a head of power that One Nation believes it was not intended to have when it was brought into existence. We have the Australian Federal Police, which plays an exemplary role and works concurrently with ASIO. That is how the process should continue. ASIO is there to do the intelligence surveillance, and the Australian Federal Police's role, as a result of ASIO's investigations, is to carry that further.

It saddens me to some degree that the Labor Party did not support a sunset clause in another particular piece of legislation, the Defence Legislation Amendment (Aid to Civilian Authorities) Bill 2000. The crossbenchers unanimously believed that that legislation should have been exposed to exactly the same process that Senator Ray has argued for in relation to this legislation. If we look at the government's bill in total, it has the ability, I believe, to achieve what the terrorists have not. The terrorists have not been able to break the spirit of the Australian people. They have not been able to break us as a nation. And yet, sadly, this government's legislation is going to place restrictions on the rights of Australians that no terrorist could ever dream of. It brings in the ability to apprehend a person and hold them without representation. It brings in punitive clauses where, if a person does not answer questions, there is the threat of a jail term. So the government is succeeding in removing the rights of Australians in a way that the terrorists have not. Very clearly, One Nation does not support the government's legislation. One Nation supports Labor's sunset clause because in actuality it will bring this legislation to a close in three years.

Question agreed to.