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Ruddock kicks another own-goal on proscription.

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Robert McClelland MP Federal Member for Barton Shadow Attorney-General Shadow Minister for Justice and Community Security

6 November 2003

Ruddock kicks another own-goal on proscription

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock today kicked another own-goal, demonstrating in Question Time that he does not even know what his p r o s c r i p t i o n B i l l s a y s - j u s t a s h e was caught out not knowing the ASIO legislation earlier this week.

In answer to a Dorothy Dixer on the proscription of terrorist organisations, Mr Ruddock claimed:

“If you look at the Bill that is before the Senate, there are a large number of steps that have to be taken before any proscription could occur.”

According to Mr Ruddock, the Bill provides that the Director-General of Security must approach the Attorney-General’s Department; the Department must seek legal advice from the Australian Government Solicitor; and the Department must recommend proscription to the Attorney-General.

In truth, the Government’s Bill makes no mention of any of these things. Mr Ruddock is now making up safeguards that don’t exist in the legislation.

This is a further embarrassment for an Attorney-General who has spent the week playing politics with terrorism and national security.

On Sunday, he didn’t know whether Australia had tried to list Lashkar-e-Taiba through the UN. On Monday, he didn’t know what the Government itself had p u t i n t h e A S I O l e g i s l a t i o n . A n d t o d a y , h e d i d n ’ t k n o w w h a t t h e Government’s proscription Bill says.

Labor will continue to call for strong safeguards on the proscription power, including proper review of the material on which decisions are based.

It is time for Philip Ruddock to put politics aside and cooperate with Labor to secure balanced legislation in the national interest.

Further information:

Robert McClelland 0408 118 995 Jonathan Kirkwood 0414 522 387