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Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Page: 2265

Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (10:19): Senator Hanson, I wish there was, as I have said many times, more money in the legal aid system. In fact, I wish there was more money for a lot of useful things, but this government were not responsible for the state of the budget we inherited in 2013, and we are still trying to repair it.

Senator Hanson, as a general proposition, I agree with your observations about the legal aid system and many of the things that you say. Can I remind you that this particular provision only applies to a minor in a control order proceeding who does not have a lawyer. So let it be assumed that there was a young man or woman who had been radicalised online and was imminently or, to use the new expression, there was a 'relevant level of concern' that some time within the next fortnight they were going to commit a terrorist event and that the best way to deal with that was to seek a control order against them.

In the court proceedings, if that young person came from a wealthy family, I dare say, and they were in touch with their parents, then no doubt, in all likelihood, the parents would pay for a lawyer. So the issue would not arise. If they were alienated from their parents because, to use Senator Xenophon's colourful but accurate phrase, their 'mind had been poisoned', then the policy of ensuring that a minor is represented by a lawyer in proceedings as unusual as this would still need to be met by the provision of a lawyer because the parents would not be providing a lawyer. If they came from a poor family then I think you would agree with me that they ought to be provided with a lawyer by the taxpayer.

So the set of circumstances that you hypothesise, Senator Hanson, are very unlikely ever to occur. But, as I said to you before, we will have a talk about it, if you are happy to do that with my officials, and it may well be that the mischief you point to could be cured by regulation.

The TEMPORARY CHAIR: The question is that the motion moved by Senator Hanson be agreed to.

Question negatived.