From Hansard 17AUG04. I would suggest one, that this is a blatent waste of taxpayer’s money, and two, an irrelevant cheap shot at Australia and Iraq War involvment.
Mr Pratt’s comments are interesting as well but one must remember when he was arrested he wasn’t packing an RPG or an AK47 during a war in which Australia was involved.
[ED – Somewhat interesting debate reproduced from hansard below. Personally I think the Chief Minister’s right on this one. UPDATE: I’ve added my thoughts in full in the comments here]
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (10.19): I will just speak just briefly in relation to the position that I have put around the quite illegal detention of Hicks and Habibi in Cuba by the Americans. It is simply outrageous and beyond defence, and it intrigues me that the Liberal Party seeks to defend that dreadful abuse of human rights that has been exhibited in the detention without charge for so long of two Australians. It is shameful that the Australian Government did not seek to intervene more strenuously to ensure that that dreadful abuse of the human rights of two Australians was not allowed to persist.
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
We can take some small comfort that some process is now moving, but the process is quite illegitimate and does not guarantee a fair trial, and that is what it is all about. Mr Pratt has rushed to judgment and has deemed Mr Hicks to be guilty of an offence that he has not been charged with. I assume the sub judice rule does not apply to courts or judicial process in other countries. It might be an interesting point. Standing in this place and simply assuming that Mr Hicks is guilty certainly offends the sub judice rule, but I do not know whether it applies internationally.
I find it ironic in the extreme that anybody would defend that sort of singular abuse of human rights and legal process and presumptions in relation to freedom, the issue of habeas corpus. I know Mr Stefaniak understands these things and must be offended that the rule of habeas corpus simply has no application. It is ironic that the Liberal Party defends that abuse of civil liberties, human rights, that total disregard for habeas corpus and for the rule of law and everything we stand for in this nation in relation to the rule of law. It is also ironic that Mr Pratt leads the charge on behalf of the Liberal Party. When Mr Pratt was arrested for spying and was detained-
Mr Smyth: On a point of order-
MR STANHOPE: He was arrested for spying.
Mr Pratt: On a point of order. The Chief Minister might be best placed if he was to use the term “allegedly spying”.
MR STANHOPE: Mr Pratt makes my point. Mr Pratt was not arrested for spying, Mr Pratt was arrested for allegedly spying. Mr Hicks was not arrested for allegedly anything. It is interesting. Mr Pratt was not arrested for spying, he was arrested, in Mr Pratt’s words, for allegedly spying. When it comes to Mr Hicks it does not matter, you do not even need to charge him, you can just arrest him. Not only do you just arrest him, you then kidnap him and transport him across the world.
When it comes to Mr Pratt being arrested for spying and detained by the Serbians, it is a different issue. It is one rule for Mr Pratt and the Liberals, another rule for Mr Hicks. So, how funny, how ironic that Mr Pratt rails in this place for five minutes about the guilt of Mr Hicks, who has not even been charged, and when I say, “But, Mr Pratt, do you not remember when you were arrested for spying, you did not like being detained,”Mr Pratt jumps up and takes a point of order. He says, “I was not arrested for spying, I was arrested for allegedly spying. Get the terminology right.”So when Mr Pratt was arrested for spying and then dobbed on his mates in order to achieve his release-
Mr Pratt: On a point of order. The point of order is about the definition that the Chief Minister was using, not what I was arrested for.
MR SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.
Mr Pratt: It is so.
MR SPEAKER: It is not a point of order.