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Anti-terror inquiry: terms of reference tabled.



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DEMOCRATS MEDIA TUESDAY AUGUST 7 2007

SENATOR NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S SPOKESPERSON

ANTI-TERROR INQUIRY: TERMS OF REFERENCE TABLED

Terms of reference to establish a Senate Select inquiry to examine Australia's anti-terrorism laws have been tabled in the Senate.

Democrats' Attorney-General's spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja tabled her notice of motion to establish the inquiry in the Senate this afternoon. The motion is due to be voted on around 9:30am on Thursday.

"In light of the controversial use of anti-terrorism powers in the Dr Mohamed Haneef case, it is urgent these laws are subjected to a comprehensive and forensic examination," Senator Stott Despoja said.

"A Senate Select inquiry is the best way of achieving this: while other inquiries seek to examine the facts of Dr Haneef's case specifically (many of which will be classified and thus unavailable for scrutiny while the investigation into Dr Haneef continues) this inquiry would be able to examine the laws which enabled his detention and charging."

Senator Stott Despoja's Terms of Reference consider whether Australia's anti-terrorism laws, including the laws which enabled the detention and charging of Dr Haneef: • adequately safeguard Australian citizens from the threat of terrorism; • define ‘terrorism’ too broadly and curtail fundamental human rights; • provide a reasonable framework for investigative and enforcement agencies; • have compromised fundamental principles of justice such as the presumption of innocence and habeas corpus, and the granting of bail; • wrongly allow for periods of indefinite detention while suspects are questioned, including ‘dead time’; • adhere to principles of natural justice and are compatible with Australia’s obligations under international law; and • interact appropriately with other powers of detention and deportation, for example immigration laws.

The inquiry, which will be expected to report by December 1, will be comprised of Government, Labor and minor party Senators.

Full copies of the proposed Terms of Reference are available on request.

Media contact: Raina Hunter - 0417 085 260