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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 9932

Senator LEYONHJELM (New South Wales) (21:20): I move amendment (1) on sheet 7815:

(1) Schedule 1, page 18 (after line 27), after item 7, insert:

7A After section 53


53A Sunset provision

(1) Sections 33AA, 35, 35AA, 35AB, 35A, 35B and 36A cease to have effect at the end of 10 years after this section commences.

(2) The regulations may prescribe matters of a transitional nature (including prescribing any saving or application provisions) arising out of the provisions mentioned in subsection (1) ceasing to have effect in accordance with that subsection.

This is the first of two amendments that I am moving in relation to this bill. This one inserts a new section 53A, which provides for a sunset clause of 10 years duration on those sections of the Citizenship Act 1948 amended or inserted by this bill. It therefore applies to proposed sections 33AA, 35, 35AA, 35AB, 35A, 35B and 36A.

Sunset clauses allow draconian laws, unless a future parliament decides otherwise, to automatically expire at a set date. I recognise they are not an ideal solution. Some people—and Bret Walker SC is one of them—have said that if laws were well drafted in the first place sunset clauses would not be necessary. But laws are rarely perfectly drafted, and when one is confronted by the enactment of illiberal law they provide some protection.

I move this sunset clause amendment because I refuse to countenance the idea that there will always be a war on terror and that laws this draconian should remain forever on the nation's books. We will not always be at war with Eurasia. I also add that, should we still be at war with Daesh in 10 years time, it will amount to a military failure. I do not believe Daesh will still exist in five years time, let alone 10. Should Daesh disappear from the historical record, it is presumptuous to assume another terrorist organisation will emerge to replace it. And, if it does, it would be open to any future parliament to either re-enact these provisions or implement new ones just as we are proposing to do this evening.