Published: 05 September 2018

Legislative Council - Thursday 30 August 2018

Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, all of us are aware of the real concern about and risk of terrorism in this country.  Thankfully, we have not been subject to some of the pretty abhorrent acts of terrorism seen in some other countries but when you travel to those places you are very well aware.  Even in our major cities we see big bollards being put up and other measures being taken to try to prevent it.  If you are trying to go to an AFL match these days in Melbourne you have to have your bag searched and you have to go through the metal detector. 

While it may be inconvenient at times, it has changed over recent years and they do a really good job getting you through quickly.  We all appreciate the attention given to our personal safety.  You hand over your control when you walk into an airport and do what you are told.  If the plane is late, then the plane is late, and if you are going to be swabbed again every time you go through for explosives, you line up and do it.  I think I went through once recently without.

I do not think any of us really mind the level of action taken as the risk is real.  Both Rob and I have had our children very close to terrorism attacks.  One of my children was in New York where there was some major event just down the road; he texted me saying no, it is on the east side.  He went outside and it actually was just down the road.  I knew where it was from the media.  He thought it was on the east side; they live on the west side, and it was downtown Manhattan.

It is very real.  My daughter was coming out of Flinders Street Railway Station the day the car went through the people walking across the road.  She probably would have gone in the other direction to where she was going, but she was actually coming out of Flinders Street station at that time.  It brings home how real and how close acts of terrorism can be. 

I accept these laws are to give effect to a COAG agreement. We understand that process.  There is no nationally consistent legislation in terms of states' legislation, because each state does things differently, so we have our own bill.

I have a couple of questions the Leader might like to answer in her response.  The second reading speech is clear there should be provisions for exceptional circumstances, both for the courts to give the courts discretion and also the Parole Board.  It is only through this process of exceptional circumstances that injustices are prevented.  It is used carefully to ensure people are not released on bail who really should not be, but we need to ensure we can prevent injustice.

Terrorism offences are defined in the bill as they are in Commonwealth legislation, but it also enables an offence to be prescribed.  To me it was not clear if that related to this act.  Can the Leader confirm this?  It was confirmed in the briefing, but it should be on the record that when an offence is to be prescribed as a terrorism offence, it is prescribed under this act rather than under the Commonwealth acts also referred to in that section of the bill.

The member for Windermere talked about arresting without a warrant if the police are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a person is a terrorism-linked prisoner or has become a terrorism-linked prisoner.  What bar do police have to meet that shows that is a reasonable belief or that they are satisfied on reasonable grounds that is the case?  Obviously it cannot be a personal prejudice, but I am interested in how they reach that.

The last question was in terms of some savings and transitional provisions.  I want some clarity on the retrospective nature of the legislation.  We asked this in the briefing and it would help to have it on the record.  How does this apply if a person has committed their offence some time ago and is now seeking parole?  If this act is in force, this will apply, but it does not apply retrospectively to people who have been through the process and come out the other side. 

I hope the Leader can provide some clarification on those questions.  I support the bill and think it is important we have fairly nationally consistent legislation to ensure we all have the same sort of level of expectation and protection right around the country.

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