Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I support the legislation. I have not heard anyone say that we do not need it. It is important to be consistent around the country. There is some suggestion people in Tasmania think, 'We are immune to this.' I do not believe we do. We know we are part of the big world. The comment is unwarranted.
Whether you agree with Jacqui Lambie or not, Jacqui Lambie experienced a direct threat to her life for the views she held. She is a Tasmanian. She lives in my electorate and she was directly targeted with a threat, so it is very real. She is high-profile, she is someone who says what she thinks, sometimes perhaps without entirely thinking through some of the comments she makes, which can make you more of a target. People say, have you thought about the implications that it could have for your own personal safety? I do not think she has always thought that through. That is one instance.
We need to be serious about this. There have always been concerns about flying out of Wynyard airport. You can still fly into Tullamarine from there, but now we do not go through any screening because we are landed on stand-off and bussed into the terminal and you are straight out through a shed into the road behind the airport. The upgrade is almost completed, thankfully. We have not been rained on or whatever, because there is no cover once you are outside the shed. I am sure there will be screening again on the way in once we go back into the main part of that airport. There have been people who have raised that a number of times. It makes it quicker getting through, but it is a long way to walk back to the main terminal.
That is part of the society we live in and whether we like it or not, that is the reality. Times have changed, as has been mentioned by other people, and we need to keep up with the current challenges. Online communications make it much easier for instant communication and we have all seen in the Cronulla riots, and things like that, the speed with which people can gather through a social media campaign.
We are facing different challenges now than 10, 20 and 50 years ago. We cannot be complacent. I do not doubt this is important legislation and that there have been changes made to reflect the ongoing challenges the police face. I do not envy the police their task in this. I am sure all of us, including every police officer around Australia and in most parts of the world, would prefer to see no-one die as a result of any violent crime.
We have not achieved that and are unlikely to achieve it. It is not only in acts of terrorism, it is also in instances of domestic violence and other things like that. Terrorism is more indiscriminate. Often it is not targeting particular people, whereas domestic violence generally does target very specifically. There are differences, but violence is violence.
I would like to ask the Leader for more clarification on a couple of points in the bill. With regard to not being able to confirm the identity of a person or getting their name, I am interested in how a court or senior police officer, as the legislation suggests, can be satisfied that the correct person is being made subject to the PDO without confirmation of their name and identity. We talk about when you cannot get the identity, you can use an audio or audiovisual recording of the application. I know there is often an issue with audio, particularly just audio recordings, that it could be done anywhere, any time. How do we ensure that the location, the date and all that, confirms that the person you are recording, or the method of recording that is being made, is relevant to that particular time and event. It is a serious matter we are dealing with. It is not complaining about a dog barking next door. How is that done? Even with audiovisual recording, we have seen these things used by terrorist organisations and you would not know whether they were legitimate at the time, whether they were in the location they claimed to be and with the people they claim to be. How do we ensure that those things are done in a way that gives rigour and surety to all involved in that process?
I am interested also in how the electronic application for a PDO operates. Is it one police officer emailing another to gain approval from the required senior officer to place someone under a PDO or how does the electronic system work?
I know we are moving into this current online and rapid communication framework, but there has often been criticism that it is not secure enough or necessarily adequate. I understand the absolute imperative for having this sort of process, but how do we ensure it is done in a way that is recognised later on in court so that people who should be subject to a preventative detention order do not get off because it was not done correctly? The rigour around that is most important.
It is appropriate the legislation requires a paper trail of the application and a recording of the application, whether just audio or audiovisual. I note the bill's clause notes acknowledge the extraordinary circumstances in which an application for preventive detention may be made orally in person or by telephone. This is designed to ensure preventive detention orders are applied for in writing to a senior police officer or the Supreme Court when circumstances are not sufficiently urgent to justify seeking a preventive detention order using other means. I am after a bit more detail around the application, but that can be supplied during the Committee stages of the bill if the Leader believes it will be easier to do it then.
I commented in the briefing this morning that the second reading speech noted that the Government says the bill had been provided to stakeholders of the Tasmanian Bar, the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, the Law Society, Women's Legal Services, the Community Legal Centres, the Legal Aid Commission, the Commissioner for Children and Civil Liberties Australia. However, the second reading speech did not give any indication of how those stakeholders responded.
I did get some feedback on that from the recommendations of the Law Council. I do not believe a terribly long time frame was involved, and we were told in the briefing that none of these organisations had responded within the time frame. I am interested in feedback that may have been delivered after that time frame, whether issues were raised or whether it was confirmed as being an appropriate way forward, which may be the case as well.
The increase of police powers must always be viewed with a questioning eye. Some members of the community are always going to do the wrong thing, and as a community we need to work out the best way to deal with this. It is not easy. As I said, I do not at all envy the police officers who are faced with the task of ensuring the rest of us remain safe. It must be a very challenging task at times, particularly with the online and the cyber world that we now live in. Legislation allowing police to attempt to prevent terrorism or the threat of terrorism is not a field of law where a feeling of discomfort regarding civil liberties readily gains much traction. I think we all want to be and to feel safe, so at times it is a difficult discussion to have.
When I asked some of these organisations about this matter, feedback I received included some comments about the Council of Australian Governments process. The Leader and her advisers dealt with commentary in the briefing, but I would like the Leader to put some feedback regarding that on the record. One question asked about recommendations to COAG was: if police stop, search and seizure powers were extended, would the Law Council recommend these powers cease to exist after five years as recommended by the COAG review? I understand that evidence was provided to COAG, but COAG did not support the recommendation. Could the Leader provide some feedback on that matter? Another question was raised about the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, which obviously fall outside the remit of this state legislation. However, it is important we take note of what key stakeholders are saying in this debate.
It is a serious area of law. While we need to take seriously whether we should deprive people of their liberty without any real evidence of a crime being committed, we should not act hastily. We need to act promptly and assertively - I will not use the word 'aggressively' because that is quite a strong word - where public safety may be at risk. In the second reading speech we heard about the Anzac Day threat, and I commend the police officers involved in that operation. It could have had a completely different outcome. When I heard about the threat, I thought that could be anywhere and it could happen any time.
Last year we went to the Australian Football League Grand Final. There was heightened awareness at that time. The grand final venue would have been a great location to launch an attack because so many people there would obviously have their minds on other things. They were there for the footy. There was a heightened sense of security around the ground and getting into the ground. There were a lot more police around, and bags were searched, which I do not have any problem with at all. I do not mind opening a bag and showing anyone what is in there at any time. It might slow you down getting into the stadium, but you know that is the reality. It is important that we take it seriously and I do support the legislation, but I would like a little more detail on some of those particular aspects of the bill.
[11.45 a.m.]Go Back