Wednesday, 26 November 2014
Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014; In Committee
I rise to indicate my support for the Greens amendment—this particular Greens amendment. Torture is an issue on which I have also taken up the cudgels in the case of the first national security legislation. As a consequence of my pressure and pressure from others, the Attorney-General kindly agreed to rule out torture in the case of ASIO's activities within Australia in the context of special intelligence operations.
The argument here is that ASIS, which is operating outside Australia's shores—unlike ASIO—should also be subject to a prohibition on torture. I think it is a perfectly reasonable precaution. It confirms our difference from the uncivilised world of ISIS, or Daesh—or whatever you want to call them—and distinguishes us as a civilised society. If I can misquote a famous legal aphorism when Lord Mansfield said that the air of England is too pure for slavery, I would say that the air of Australia is too pure to countenance torture whether inside or outside the country, if it involves Australian officers.