Australian anti-terror proposals rejected by state leader

[JURIST] Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Jon Stanhope [official website] on Thursday became the first state or territory leader in Australia to reject the federal government's proposed anti-terrorism legislation [PDF text] in its current form. Stanhope's opposition [JURIST report] focused on provisions dealing with preventative detention and control orders. After receiving expert opinion, Stanhope concluded that he would not implement provisions that may breach Australia's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) [text]. Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock [official website] supported the proposed legislation [transcript] and the constitutionality of allowing judges to subject people to control orders:

These matters have been tested before in relation to powers of warrants for a range of security-related purposes. The system that is used for questioning warrants involves a judicial officer in considering a request approved by me, asked for by ASIO, before a warrant is issued. Now that is a matter that we were advised was constitutional when we implemented it. It hasn't been challenged. In relation to all of the surveillance that is undertaken by police under the telecommunications interception legislation, warrants are issued by judicial officers, again using the same power of the constitution of judicial officers acting in their personal capacity and not being involved in any review that might be undertaken when decisions are challenged. ... But the point I make is that there are a range of functions that are now carried out where judges or judicial officers exercise a personal decision-making capacity which the court in Grollo's case in 1995 upheld and our advice from our constitutional experts is that these measures are of the same character.
The Canberra Times has more.


 

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