Senate debates

Thursday, 12 August 2021


Selection of Bills Committee; Report

11:17 am

Photo of Lidia ThorpeLidia Thorpe (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

[by video link] There are three provisions of the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Sunsetting Review and Other Measures) Bill 2021 that are about to expire—and I do mean that they're about to expire—in a matter of days, and the government have only just realised. This is terrorism legislation for this country. The government have just woken up and realised that parts of the legislation are going to expire. What are they going to do about it? It's because they didn't do their job—and the red Liberals don't want to do their jobs either. They want to just rush these through.

Some of these provisions that are about to expire have never even been used. So you're about to extend things that have never been used. Why haven't they been used? Shouldn't we be asking that question? Isn't that our responsibility? The previous Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, Bret Walker SC, is on the record as saying that he found that 'sunset provisions are problematic', and that 'a period of 10 years appeared arbitrary,' stating that sunset clauses should 'either be really very short' or not be used at all—who listens to advice in this place?—in which case, there would:

… be trust in future parliaments to amend, repeal, leave in force laws as the future parliaments see fit in light of circumstances that cannot possibly be predicted at the moment.

So, come on, let's do our job. Let's hear from the likes of the Law Council of Australia, Human Rights Watch, Save the Children and Mr Bret Walker SC himself, among many others. We can get this done soon, but we all just need to do our jobs. Let's have a short hearing and air these issues out. Just because the Morrison government didn't do its job doesn't mean that we all now have to scramble. There are plenty of concerns with this legislation and we must air those out—not to mention that the preventative detention orders and the stop, search and seizure powers that the government wants to extend, with the help of the red Liberals, have never been used. Labor, seriously, why are you supporting something like this?

I ask for the support of the Senate. Let's do our job. Roll your sleeves up and do the right thing by the people. Let's take these proposals to the people and the experts by way of a committee. Let's do it now. It can be done. If these provisions that are about to expire are so important and critical to this country, then can't we just follow due process? I thought that was part of the democracy. Is it, or do I need to learn something different about this place? So I call on my fellow senators: if you truly and genuinely represent the constituents you say you do, roll up your sleeves, get the work done and hear from the people and the experts who are saying that this is problematic. Let's find out why it's problematic. Labor, have you checked out why this is problematic, or is it that you just can't be bothered because you have your eyes set on the next election? Don't get too cocky. Fix the legislation, take it to the people and stop worrying about the next election, because we have a number of crises happening in this country right now. I actually don't give a damn who gets in next. I care about the people, and that's why I'm here. So think about why you're here and, the next time you say you're here for the people, make sure that you're walking the talk and not just rushing through dangerous legislation that excludes the people that we are meant to represent.


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