The New South Wales Opposition has indicated it is likely to vote in favour of new counter-terrorism laws the State Government has introduced to Parliament, but said it needs to look at the fine print first. Under the legislation, NSW Police will be able to detain and question terrorism suspects as young as 14 without charge for up to two weeks.
Key points of new laws:
- Suspect can be held for a maximum of 14 days
- A judge can extend detention period by seven days at a time
- The powers will be used as the basis for a national model
"What's come back today, on the face of it, seems to be a more balanced and reasonable proposition, that does protect the community while providing the necessary balances that we need in our democracy," said Luke Foley, Labor Leader of NSW.
However, many are opposed to these new draconian 'anti-terror' laws.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties president, Stephen Banks, said the proposed laws will isolate communities alongside vulnerable, young Australians who instead need support and they will be "resented".
"It will obviously be seen as unfair and alienating by the very people that we need to bring into the system in order to prevent terrorism," he said.
"They can either decide that Australia is against them and they want to fight against our community, or they can be brought into the community and be given every encouragement and incentive to join with the rest of the community.
Mr Blanks said the proposed shift to allow holding periods to be extended by seven days at a time, instead of being subject to a judge's approval every 48 hours, is "contrary to the interests of the community".
"The police, when they deprive individuals of their liberty, do so under the supervision of an independent arm of government - that is the judiciary," he said.
"That is such a fundamental aspect of our free society... and here we are throwing it away."
Source: ABC News Online
Source: Channel 9 News