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Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Page: 2279

Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (11:24): Thank you, Attorney. I do acknowledge the challenges that we are all facing in debating these issues. You said no-one is trying to compromise, or perhaps you used the word 'trample', anyone's civil liberties. In fact, I think we could agree that to a degree this piece of legislation does actually attempt to compromise some people's civil liberties. Probably your argument is that it is a proportionate compromise of someone's civil liberties, and that is a debate that you and I have had previously on this legislation and on other pieces of legislation, and no doubt we will have in the future on further pieces of legislation that you have flagged will be coming before this parliament.

Before I move onto the next comment that the committee made that I wish to raise, I will just reiterate the view that the committee has shared, which is that the secret evidence provisions are apt to undermine the fundamental principle of natural justice, which does include a right to a fair hearing. I am sure you would agree, Attorney, that in general terms the right to a fair hearing would include the right of an accused person or a person on whom an application for a control order has been made to give instructions to their counsel, to the person who is representing them.

The TEMPORARY CHAIR ( Senator Sterle ): Before I call you, minister, it would be advantageous to the Senate, Senator McKim, if you could let the Senate know what you are quoting from—what document.

Senator McKIM: Chair, I thought I had done that. They are from a summary of bills and responses draft Alert Digest No. 8 and the draft Eighth Report of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee.

The TEMPORARY CHAIR: I believe that that report has not yet been tabled in the Senate.

Senator McKIM: My advice is that it was signed off by the committee this morning.

The TEMPORARY CHAIR: We will seek clarification.