Senate debates

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Emergency Response Consolidation) Bill 2008

In Committee

6:01 pm

Photo of Nigel ScullionNigel Scullion (NT, Country Liberal Party, Deputy Leader of the Nationals) Share this | Hansard source

The opposition opposes items 1 to 9 in schedule 3 in the following terms:

  • (10)   Schedule 3, items 1 to 9, page 17 (line 10) to page 18 (line 12), items 1 to 9 to be opposed.

I think the fundamental amendments that have been brought to this place relate to schedule 3. Next to those, the rest pale into insignificance. I question the motive behind the government’s insistence on this schedule, but I would like to acknowledge the consistency of the Labor Party on this. From the day of the intervention they have consistently said that they support every aspect of the intervention. They actually divided on the permit system in this place, so their position has been consistent and I acknowledge that. But I would have thought that you would have to question the motive or have a little understanding of the motive. Much of the discussion at the time of the intervention revolved around the capacity, for example, of the police force. We have had Police Federation of Australia representatives come out and say that this is a very important piece of legislation because it allows a great deal of leeway in being able to have discussions with people moving in and out of the community. They said: ‘We just simply pull them up and have a bit of a chat to them. We can search their cars. We can ensure that they are not bringing drugs, alcohol or other substances in the community, and they are generally good guys.’

As the government well knows, since the intervention became law there have been a raft of significant legislative changes in the Northern Territory in regard to the movement of alcohol in the prescribed areas. You can run out terms like ‘draconian’ but, whatever they are, there is now legislation that gives the police the right to stop anybody and search the car—and they do. I was pulled up the other day—

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