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Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Page: 2274

Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (11:02): I thank Senator Brandis. I just wanted to briefly put on record the opposition's position in relation to this amendment. We will not be supporting this amendment. I do agree with the principle that Senator Leyonhjelm articulated, which was the principle that extraordinary powers ought to have a range of safeguards, and one of those is a sunset clause. In fact, that is the policy position Labor has taken over some time in relation to a whole range of additional and at times extraordinary powers that we have given our security agencies for the reasons that have been ventilated in this debate and in others.

As the Attorney set out, there is an existing sunset clause in relation to the control orders and the preventative detention order regimes, which was in fact included in the original bill and extended by the foreign fighters legislation to the date the Attorney has outlined—7 September 2018. We supported the inclusion of that sunset clause. In other legislation, including, I think, a bill that may or may not be presented shortly, we have also sought a sunset clause for the very reasons you have outlined. But we think that in relation to this the existing sunset clause in relation to the control order and preventative detention order regimes is the appropriate one.

I also turn to the point the Attorney finished on, which is the insertion of the offence of genocide into the Criminal Code by this bill. That is not subject to a sunset clause. That is the case. But on this occasion we agree with Senator Brandis—I personally agree with him—that there are occasions where we make a determination that a matter ought to be the subject of criminal sanction. In relation to the genocide offence we agree with Senator Brandis's point. We do not believe that those provisions should be time limited nor contingent. For those reasons, the opposition will not be supporting the amendment.