Senate debates

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014; In Committee

12:17 pm

Photo of George BrandisGeorge Brandis (Queensland, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | Hansard source

Actually I did not read you a definition of 'violence' from the Criminal Code. There is not a definition of 'violence' in the Criminal Code. There is a definition of 'torture' in the Criminal Code and that is what I read. The point I was making to you, Senator Wright, is that the use of the word 'violence' in section 6(4) of the Intelligence Services Act is a word sufficiently embracing that it would include torture. That means more than just physical violence because 'torture' is defined to mean more than physical violence. It might be more useful, Senator Wright, if I read you something else from division 274 of the Criminal Code—a point I should have made in my earlier contribution, so thank you for reminding me. The definition in section 274.1 says:

(2) An expression that is used both in this Division and in the Convention (whether or not a particular meaning is given to it by the Convention) has, in this Division, the same meaning as it has in the Convention.

And 'convention' is defined as the convention against torture—that is, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment adopted by the UN General Assembly at New York on 10 December 1984. I omitted to make the point, which I should have made before, that the definition of 'torture' in the Criminal Code embraces the convention definition. The words in section 274.2 are not the very words used in the convention, but to the extent of any inconsistency the broader definition of 'torture'—that is, the definition to be found in the convention—is the operative definition, so in that sense, through the definition provision in section 274.1, the UN convention definition is imported into Australian law.


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