Wednesday, 26 November 2014
Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014; In Committee
Senator Wright, it might be helpful if I outline the opposition's position before you move to make further comments. These amendments relate to limiting the use of control orders to require a clearer, stronger nexus between the activity of a person and the commission of a specific criminal offence, rather than as a preventive measure. As Senator Brandis indicated, Labor will be opposing this amendment. We understand the Greens Party's proposition that it is preferable for antiterror activity to focus on the commission of criminal acts and on seeking prosecutions and convictions for those criminal acts. The joint intelligence committee said:
The Committee strongly agrees that arrest, charge and prosecution under criminal offences is always preferable.
Labor endorses that sentiment. I note, though, that the committee went on to say:
However, the Committee also accepts that there are increasingly situations in which security interests require action to be taken by police at a time before the standard of evidence required for criminal prosecution can been obtained. In the current environment, these situations require not only the capacity to directly prevent terrorist acts, but also to prevent persons from providing support for or facilitating terrorist acts.
I direct Senator Wright and her Greens party colleagues to the amendments that Labor has supported in this bill—some of which Senator Brandis was referring to a moment ago—to tighten the process for granting control orders. I note that the government has accepted the committee recommendations that the monitor consider in a holistic way whether the 2013 COAG review recommendations concerning the reform of the control order scheme should be enacted. I also direct Senator Wright to the amendments that Labor supported to the foreign fighters bill providing that the entirety of the control order scheme will be subject to statutory review by the intelligence committee and the monitor and will sunset two years after the next election.