Thursday, 20 September 2018
Selection of Bills Committee; Report
I want to briefly touch on the recommendation of the Selection of Bills Committee in Report No. 11 of 2018 that the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Police Powers at Airports) Bill 2018 not be referred to a committee. What we will get here—I'll make a confident prediction—is that this will end up with the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, which, as we all know, is a closed shop between the two establishment parties in this place. I'll also confidently predict that the committee will ultimately recommend supporting this piece of legislation.
The Australian people and all senators should understand that this bill contains highly coercive powers. It is proposing that Australian Federal Police officers be able to wander up to any person at a designated airport in Australia and say to them, 'Papers, please.' We've seen, historically, what happens when societies go down this route. This is a dangerous piece of legislation. If it's enacted through this parliament, it will join the over 200 pieces of legislation in the last 20 years that have removed fundamental rights, freedoms and liberties in this country. It will be a continuation of the slow shuffle of the major establishment parties, leading this country down the road towards an authoritarian police state. Again, this bill deserves to be examined and should have been recommended for examination by the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee. It should have been subject to significant public hearings and it should have been able to be inquired into through a committee that is transparent and a committee that has a fine record of doing its job with regard to assessing legislation. Instead, it has been referred to a committee that is a closed shop, that no member of the crossbench of this Senate, whether it be Greens senators, Centre Alliance senators or any other senators on the crossbench, has the opportunity to participate in. Once again, we see the closed shop that occurs in the PJCIS that I confidently predict will occur this time.
I believe it's likely that the committee will recommend rasping off a few of the roughest edges of this legislation, because that's often what happens on similar bills, but we will be presented—once again, I confidently predict—with a recommendation to pass the bill. It will pass with the combined LNP-ALP votes through both houses of the parliament, based on a PJCIS recommendation, and it will again remove fundamental rights, freedoms and liberties that many people on the government side of this chamber like to claim they believe in and support, but they can't get together quick enough in the PJCIS to erode those fundamental rights, freedoms and liberties, for which we used to send Australians overseas to fight and die in order to protect and enhance.
Question agreed to.