Statutes Amendment (Terror Suspect Detention) Bill

Ms CHAPMAN (Bragg—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (20:23): I rise to contribute in respect of the Statutes Amendment (Terror Suspect Detention) Bill. This is a bill that was introduced in June by the Attorney-General subsequent to a meeting between the Premier and the Attorney-General and Minister for Police when they publicly announced the government's intention to amend the bail and parole laws. Members would be aware that there has been considerable activity in this space since, in more recent times, the Man Haron Monis incident in the Lindt Cafe on 15 December 2014.

I recall, subsequent to the inquiries into that siege and the tragic loss of life of two hostages and, ultimately, Man Haron Monis killing himself, that the state government here took the view that it was not necessary for us to look at tightening our bail laws. In fact, I have a letter from the Attorney-General suggesting the same, that we are different from New South Wales and so on. Nevertheless, the situation has progressed. There have been incidents around the world which have culminated in the Prime Minister calling on state attorneys, after a number of meetings, to review their parole decisions on terror-linked cases.

It is fair to say that the upgrading has followed in this bill. Currently, under section 10A of the Bail Act, there are a number of circumstances when a presumption of bail is reversed, including manslaughter and unlawful killing using a car, blackmail, causing a bushfire, serious and organised crime and threat to a public officer. This list has been added to whenever there has been a controversy surrounding a particular case, e.g., causing death by dangerous driving subsequent to the Eugene McGee case or the announcement by premier Rann that he would get tough on people who caused a bushfire, even though we already had life imprisonment penalties for arson.

In any event, on our side of the house we have been concerned about what appears to be fairly slow attention to the urgency of some of these matters. I will give one example. Minister Bettison is the Minister for Social Inclusion. Under an agreement at the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council back in 2015, there was a general agreement to deal with and advance programs to counter violent extremism. The radicalisation of youth was one of the areas identified as important, particularly in South Australia where that appears to be one of our greatest areas of risk.

I noticed just today that the new police minister has indicated that he is going to introduce laws to increase penalties for the possession of what has been broadly described in the media as extremist material and for detonating homemade bombs and apparently some other things. Obviously, we have yet to see the legislation on that announcement. The radicalisation of South Australians, particularly young people, is an area of concern that has been around for some time. Minister Bettison was given a responsibility, and $135,000 from the commonwealth, to appoint a task force and a 'responsible person'. It took until about August the following year.

Several times, I asked in parliament whether this person had been appointed, and we had briefings with SAPOL and the like. This year, in about April or May, we finally sought a meeting with the responsible person, who was a youth officer, as I recall Ms Bettison's description. This was the person, as I say, the commonwealth was funding to assist in reducing the risk of radicalisation in youth. They were to go to schools and presumably community organisations and the like, help people identify if there was potentially a problem within those organisations, be alert and report behaviour of concern to the appropriate agencies.

I suppose they were also to give those communities guidance and assistance as to how they might manage someone who was showing some sign of resistance to activity in the community, becoming isolated and making statements that could be interpreted as showing an association with a group or idea that would cause some threat or risk. That is great, but then we found that, within the short time before we were due to meet this person, they had resigned. We still have not had any announcement from the Minister for Social Inclusion that that person has even been replaced.

Whilst I see that the new minister (minister Picton) has announced that they want to get on with dealing with legal sanctions against people distributing extremist material, this is exactly the area of radicalisation that this youth officer—who until around April or May this year was in situ, but has resigned—is supposed to be doing.

So it is a real concern. In this space, South Australia, in recent history, has not been the victim of death or destruction by terrorist acts—great. We have not had our water poisoned. We have not had Adelaide Oval bombed, etc., but obviously there is now a national agreement, as we are still on high alert, that we actually follow through with what we have agreed to do. In South Australia, we agreed—apparently via the Minister for Social Inclusion—to attend to this issue of trying to counter terrorist activity in the radicalisation space.

I just say to the Attorney that while you were apparently not given that job—this was given to another minister—if we are going to go down the legal reform in respect of bail and parole, and the reversal of onuses, that is fine. However, we need to ensure that other agencies in the state government are also doing what they are supposed to be doing. Accordingly, at the moment we do not have a lot of confidence that appropriate attention is being given to this, other than trying to get headlines about what you say they are going to do, or what the new minister says he is going to do.

From the police briefings we had, they confirmed that they were not in the space of training for antiradicalisation. That is fine; I totally understand that, as they have a different realm. We appreciate the briefings they have provided to us. We do not need to go into detail about those, suffice to say that they are our force of first responsibility, as in every other state. Obviously, in light of there being any attack or civilian risk, they will be our task force of first response. I hope we do not have to need them, but I am confident that if we do they will do whatever they can to ensure that our community is safe.

However, as I have said, I am not so confident that the other agencies are actually doing what they are supposed to be doing. In any event, in respect of this legislation, we support these initiatives. Two reports were tabled today in respect of some investigation into criminal intelligence. I have not had a chance to read them yet. I am not sure whether they are covered in relation to any of the sharing of intelligence which is proposed under this bill, but that is another area where I think there has been general COAG agreement on the exchange of information, obviously with the same end of ensuring that we are protected against the risk of terrorist activity. With that, we support the bill.