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Brennan correct on terror laws.



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DEMOCRATS MEDIA THURSDAY NOVEMBER 1 2007

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

BRENNAN CORRECT ON TERROR LAWS

The Australian Democrats say that the Government and Opposition should both tune in to the thoughts of former Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Gerard Brennan, who yesterday criticised Australia's anti-terror laws for creating a culture where there is a lack of accountability.

"Sir Gerard is spot on - since 9/11 more than 40 pieces of security related legislation have created a complex and confusing web of anti-terror laws which the AFP and ASIO themselves are struggling to implement," Democrats’ Attorney-General’s Spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said.

"We have one of the most eminent legal minds in the country pointing out what the Government and the Opposition are unable - or unwilling - to see.

"Government policy on terrorism has been dictated by what the law enforcement and security agencies want, not what might be reasonable and appropriate for our democratic society.

"The Dr Mohamed Haneef affair is a case in point: the first real test of these laws and both the AFP and DPP attempts at using them were riddled with errors and incompetence.

"I sought to establish a Senate Select inquiry into Australia's anti-terror laws in August in the wake of the Haneef affair. That inquiry would consider whether the terror laws in their totality are reasonable, necessary and appropriate, or whether they have unduly infringed established legal principles and

fundamental human rights.

"The Democrats will push for the establishment of such an inquiry with whichever party forms government, and I challenge both the major parties now to put their position on the table and allow the electorate to vote accordingly.

"It's time that such important aspects of public policy got the election attention they deserve," Senator Stott Despoja said.

Media contact: Raina Hunter - 0417 085 260