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ACT Says no to Terror Laws

By johnboy - 3 November 2005 31

Late this afternoon the Chief Minister put out a media release (below) saying that the ACT was going to pass on the Government’s draconian terror laws.

Bill Stefaniak has responded by doing the seemingly impossible, lowering the tone of of public discourse in the ACT by quoting Kylie Mole in this media release.

I for one am glad to be dealt out of the game Bill. Your position on this issue will be remembered when the next election rolls around.

The text of the Chief Minister’s media release is as follows:


The ACT would move as swiftly as practicable to introduce the anti-terrorism measures it had agreed to
at last month’s special heads-of-government meeting but Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said he had not
been able to put his signature to the Commonwealth Bill introduced into Federal Parliament this

“While I acknowledge the very significant concessions made by the Federal Government in recent days
in relation to the preventative detention regime and control orders, I have been unable to satisfy myself,
in the scant few hours the Prime Minister has allowed me to scrutinise the final draft, that the Bill meets
the promises made by the Prime Minister at the Council of Australian Governments meeting,” he said.

“My office received a final draft of the Bill this morning, after I had left Canberra to attend to interstate
ministerial commitments. 1 have had no opportunity to consider the substance of the most recent
amendments and no opportunity to secure the kind of advice 1 would require in order to be comfortable
about the final shape of the legislation, Moreover, I have still received no response whatsoever from
the Commonwealth in relation to a comprehensive list of my outstanding concerns about the detail of
the Bill, which was sent to the Prime Minister on November I, Many of these concerns, including the
proposed sedition laws and the offences of advocacy, have not been the subject of recent amendment.

“A number of areas of concern remain. For instance, there is a body of expert opinion that the Bill as it
stands could be unconstitutional and could fall at the first legal challenge. I believe it would not be
appropriate to agree to the laws when the only legal opinions 1 have seen express grave concern in
relation to constitutionality. It is surely vital that we take the time to ensure that these laws do not fail,
exposing the community to a period in which it might endure less protection and security than it
currently enjoys. 1 am convinced that, given time, the State and Territory Solicitors General could have
provided recommendations that would have significantly reduced the vulnerability of the Bill to
challenge. I have had no assurance that such amendments have been incorporated into the Bill.

“Nor have I yet had an opportunity to be satisfied that the provisions of the Bill are truly proportionate or
that they satisfy the Prime Minister’s promise of September 27 that the laws would comply with
Australia’s obligations under international human-rights law.

“The Prime Minister, due to his determination to ram through this legislation this afternoon, has left me
with no alternative but to reject the Anti-Terrorism Bill as it stands, This is a disappointing conclusion to
a process that was entered into by the ACT with good will and with a conviction on my part that tough
new laws were necessary.”

Mr Stanhope said that he would move as soon as possible to fulfil the promises he made at COAG to
legislate for a territory-based preventative detention scheme and other changes to police powers. “I will
keep the promises the Prime Minister made,” he said.

What’s Your opinion?

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31 Responses to
ACT Says no to Terror Laws
Maelinar 10:45 am 04 Nov 05

As the beacon for calm, I can only suggest that the new terror laws will only be used until the first truly innocent bystander is caught up in the dragnet and sues the fucking pants off the government, with associated months of media saturation from TT and CA.

After that they’ll make damn sure that they know what they’re acting on prior to acting, and only terrorists will get caught, no problems.

Sound reasonable ?

ssanta 10:25 am 04 Nov 05

High fives for Mr Stanhope. Free beer for life for Bill for coming up with such an effort by quoting Kylie Mole. Next time i want to see homer’s ‘d’oh’ in a release somehow.

LurkerGal 9:08 am 04 Nov 05

No one is saying the threat doesn’t exist. I used to be in a job that makes me very bloody aware that it does, and has for some time. But what I don’t believe, is that these terror laws will help.

che 9:07 am 04 Nov 05

there are two concerns I have

First – that ASIO have not used the already increased powers that they have (as per their annual report) therefore why do they need more?

Secondly – if these powers are going to be granted then there needs to be an assurance that mistakes won’t be made, and yet mistakes are made again and again.

So how about they try using what they have already got and getting it right rather than demanding more power with less accountability and more dire consequences for mistakes

simto 8:36 am 04 Nov 05

In my usual cynical frame of mind, I tend to think that the main reason that we’re having this new rush of terror laws is mainly becuase the security services in this country aren’t really capable of running a half-decent cover-up operation any more. I’d be surprised if any halfway competent security service hasn’t occasionally availed themselves of information and methods that may possibly not entirely be legally correct.

Is Stanhope doing his usual grandstanding? Yes. Unfortunately, it’s grandstanding that needed to be done, this time.

terubo 7:56 am 04 Nov 05

Carry on like that, Kerces, and you’ll soon be honoured with the Keys to the City….:)
That said, Stan’s statement is more about commonsense than ideology, vg – if he hasn’t been given the time to read the stuff properly, then why should he endorse it? At no stage is he denying that a threat exists – read the statement again.

vg 12:12 am 04 Nov 05

If people honestly think the threat of terrorism is benign in this country try banging the phrase ‘Mantiqi 4’ into Google.

Potential terrorists are not bound by rules and although we need not extend ours to excessively draconian one’s, at least ones along the lines proposed will toughen the stance we can take against terrorism..

Those who continue to believe that no threat exists may also care to take an exchange position in the front office of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta or Singapore.

All that being said, all Stanhope has done is completely annex himself from ALL the states and territories. I’m not saying acquiesce to everything the federales want, but following a simply obstructionist and idealogical line will only hurt the territory in the end.

Spitfire3 9:59 pm 03 Nov 05

“I for one am glad to be dealt out of the game Bill.”

I’m not crying about that either. John Howard is a cunning politician who very often manages to get what he wants through deception or threat, and he will get what he wants in this latest episode too. I will be proud to be able to say that the ACT didn’t help that happen.

jr 9:52 pm 03 Nov 05

It has just dawned on me… all these anti terror laws have been put in place as part of elaborate celebrations of the 400th anniversary of “Guy Fawkes Night” (November 5th 1605):

Spitfire3 9:51 pm 03 Nov 05

The Prime Minister gave up his right to be trusted a loooooong time ago. From time to time, he has reminded us of this. He’s doing so again now.

johnboy 8:59 pm 03 Nov 05

Sam, neither prince charles, nor Mr. Stanhope, are asking for your trust. The Federal Government is.

I’ll have the model that doesn’t require faith in men thank you.

Samuel Gordon-Stewar 8:55 pm 03 Nov 05

That could be part of the reason that Prince Charles isn’t on my christmas card list.

We’ve disagreed on this topic before, and I’m happy with that…I don’t want to convert you to my point of view, and I don’t think I could anyway.

johnboy 8:42 pm 03 Nov 05

Psalm 146:3 Put not your trust in princes.

Samuel Gordon-Stewar 8:37 pm 03 Nov 05

“Your position on this issue will be remembered when the next election rolls around.”

Indeed it will, from my side of things it will mean Stanhope doesn’t get my vote, not that he would have gotten it anyway.

Kerces 8:17 pm 03 Nov 05

I admire the Chief Minister, whatever else he may have done during his time in charge, for persisting with his stand on this. We might be the smallest government in Australia, but someone needs to stand up to those who are bloated with power.

Course it may have helped his resolve that he was left out of yesterday’s briefings on the “immediate and real” terror threat, but this does not reduce my admiration, rather I think it highlights the pettiness of the Federal Government.

Bravo Mr Stanhope.

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