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Tuesday, 10 December 2002
Page: 7626

Senator NETTLE (9:42 PM) —I rise to give the Australian Greens position on these amendments. There are going to be many occasions throughout this debate where I will be rising to indicate that the Australian Greens will be supporting an amendment put forward by the Labor Party that we see as trying to improve a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation. Opposition amendment (6) is one of those amendments. We have previously had discussions about constitutionality and the relationship between prescribed and issuing authorities and the executive, and we have had arguments about whether or not there is an adequate number of judges. All of those points lead to a preference for this model as opposed to the model that is being put forward by the government.

When Senator Faulkner says that he believes this model will boost public confidence in this regime, I think he is probably being a little bit rich. I think it will boost some confidence—in what you could describe as an ambit claim in terms of the way in which this legislation was first put forward by the government—in that it does seek to ameliorate some of the worst aspects of that legislation. But it still leaves us with a detention regime for non-suspects. I go back to one of the fundamental tenets of our legal system—stated in the Magna Carta itself: people should not be detained unless they have come before a court and have been found to have been, or are suspected on reasonable grounds by the court to have been, involved in a criminal activity. This is one of those many amendments where we will be supporting the position put forward by the opposition, because we see that it does help to ameliorate the worst aspects of a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation.