In today’s terror wrap up: the results of Stanhope’s commissioned academic review of the draft terror legislation, Malcolm Fraser’s thoughts on the worldwode eroding of natural justice, my thoughts on Stanhope’s stand.
Jon Stanhope commissioned three human rights and international law experts to examine the draft terrorism legislation and report on whether it complied with our human rights obligations or not. The overall conclusion was that it does breach these obligations and also does not meet the guarantees John Howard gave at the COAG meeting where everyone agreed these laws would be a good thing. You can look at their report here.
The Canberra Times reports Mr Stanhope is negotiating with the Federal Government over the human rights implications. However, he said he has “not resiled from [his] commitment to this legislation or the need for it”.
He told the ABC that he has not ever said he would not support the laws but rather that he just wants them to be human rights compliant.
Weekly NewsletterEvery Thursday afternoon, we package up the most-read and trending RiotACT stories of the past seven days and deliver straight to your inbox..
“I simply wish the legislative response to be framed in a way that recognises the importance of the rule of law and civil liberties and our human rights, and I hope that’s achievable,” he said.
He has also sought advice from Stephen Gageler SC, Kate Eastman SC, Lex Lasry QC and the ACT judiciary on the laws.
His point is that the proposed terror laws go even further than the ones that are already in place to erode what he calls the “Rule of Law”.
“The laws should be opposed because the process itself is seriously flawed ‘ he said. “Instead of wide ranging discussion the Government has sought to nobble the field in secret and to prevent debate. The laws should be opposed because they provide arbitrary power which would be dependent on trust, a trust that has not been earnt.”
To finish off he quotes Thomas Paine, which I have been asked to reproduce here:
“He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his own enemy from oppression, for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
And finally, I personally think Mr Stanhope has made a strong stand for democracy and transparency. He has allowed the people access to legislation the government very much wanted to be kept hidden and as such he has opened up what may well be one of the most important debates of our time. Read more of my views here.
(Also although I’ve been told to keep this to a mainly Canberra angle, if you’re interested in what else people are saying about the legislation, this is as good a place to start as any.)
[UPDATED: Laurie Oakes in The Bulletin has glowing praise for Mr. Stanhope.]