Wednesday, 29 October 2014
Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014; In Committee
I have wrestled with this bill, and the discomfort I have felt has been exacerbated by the haste with which this debate has been forced to a conclusion. I have followed and appreciated the contributions of all, particularly my colleague Senator Leyonhjelm, who spoke eloquently in a 'shining' contribution to the debate yesterday. I appreciate the briefings from government and meetings with the Attorney-General on this bill, and I have put to him some of the arguments I am putting forward now—and they are serious.
I recall an old Peanuts cartoon, where Charlie Brown shoots an arrow into a fence and then proceeds to paint circles around the arrow to show that he had hit the target. I am concerned that the target of this legislation is already known in the form of those people under surveillance who may have come back from the ISIS conflict already. That target may well be justified but I am very concerned about laws drafted to target specific individuals. I am also concerned that censoring and incarcerating people who are preaching hatred may not suppress but, in fact, fan the fire of fanaticism. Putting radical preachers, activists and would-be terrorists in prison gives them a captive audience, so to speak. Radical preaching that promotes bombings and beheadings and other gross acts of violence against innocent Australian citizens—men, women, children, the elderly—is utterly abhorrent and contrary to not only Australian values but Australian citizenship and eligibility for residency.
I trust that my colleagues in this place will be as watchful and vigilant in these matters as those law enforcement officials who protect us to ensure recently enacted powers and the powers proposed in this bill are not exceeded. Having stated those reservations and given strong cautions to those who might use these laws in ham-fisted or wrongful ways, I say that Family First will be supporting this bill.