19 Oct 2009
Senator Ludlam asked the following questions in writing, following the hearing on 19 October
a) has the Australian Federal Police (AFP) taken part in any other intelligence gathering tasks or operations on trade unionist or opposition activists in Colombia, apart from interrogating Liliany Obando, human rights organiser for the Agricultural Workers Union (FENSUAGRO);
b) has the AFP worked with or assisted Colombian Police officers or authorities implicated in "False Positives", or other human rights abuses;
22 Sep 2009
At a hearing into an Australian Greens’ Bill to repeal aspects of John Howard’s terrorism laws in Sydney today, witnesses have repeatedly warned against the Rudd Government’s proposed approach to terrorism law reform.
Representatives of the Australian Press Council, Law Council and human rights lawyers have told the Senate Inquiry that they prefer the Greens’ Bill rather than the Federal Government’s proposals for terrorism law reform.
“Highly credible witnesses today are saying that they prefer the Greens’ Bill,” Greens’ Legal Affairs Spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said.
“It was clearly established through numerous cases such as the quashed conviction and acquittal of Jack Thomas, the dismissal of the Al-Haque case and the Haneef debacle, Howard’s terror laws severely eroded civil liberties and are in dire need of fixing.
“However, the Attorney-General’s discussion paper released last month indicates that the Rudd Government does not plan adequately address the erosion of human rights begun seven years ago under John Howard.
“For example, it is proposed that the Australian Federal Police will have the right to enter premises without a warrant, without stating clearly the circumstances under which this would be allowed.
“The Greens are concerned about the use of dangerously broad and vague phrases that could be used to inhumane and undemocratic effect, such as the offence bizarrely listed as ‘reckless possession of a thing’.
“We need to address restrictions on freedom of expression and association and protect the principle of fair and open trials.
“The Greens’ Anti-Terrorism Laws Reform Bill 2009 would remove these in favour of the tried-and-tested criminal laws and procedures that Australia relied on prior to 2001 to prosecute and penalise terrorism-type actions,” Senator Ludlam continued.
“We note that the Government released its paper prior to the counter-terrorism white paper and before the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Laws has been appointed.
“The Greens believe that some of these laws are so clearly extreme, repugnant and redundant that they could be abolished, prior to the long-awaited independent reviewer of terrorism laws.
“But instead of reforming these laws, the Government appears intent on largely continuing and in cases deepening the erosion of civil liberties that Howard began seven years earlier.”
Notes to editors:
Introduced to the Senate in June, Senator Ludlam's Bill, Explanatory Memorandum and Second Reading Speech may be read here:
The terms of the Senate Inquiry into the Bill, and submissions, may be viewed here:
For more information or media enquiries please call Eloise Dortch on 0415 507 763
10 Sep 2009
Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (11.19am)-I rise to make a brief contribution, which I think will be in substantial agreement with the previous contribution, on the Military Justice (Interim Measures) Bill (No. 1) 2009 and the Military Justice (Interim Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2009. The Australian Greens acknowledge the importance of acting very quickly to address the implications of the High Court invalidation of the Australian Military Court. We certainly appreciate the extreme importance of a functioning military justice system. The Australian Greens will therefore be supporting the government's interim measures. The measures include reintroducing the former system of trials by court martial and Defence Force magistrates, and the interim legislation will also give effect to punishments- other than imprisonment-and orders that were imposed by the former Australian military court.
09 Sep 2009
Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (12.04 pm)-As I foreshadowed during the second reading debate, I have a number of amendments. I will discuss them in three blocks dealing with the three different aspects that I spoke about earlier. I would just like to begin with some broader questions relating to the consequences of passing a bill like this through the Senate. I will put a couple of questions to the minister if I can. Is the minister aware of how many nuclear reactors are currently operating in China?
08 Sep 2009
Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (1.36 pm)
I rise to add my remarks to the debate on the Uranium Royalty (Northern Territory) Bill 2008. It would be no surprise to anyone in this chamber that the Australian Greens oppose uranium mining as an industry, because it poses unacceptable environmental and health risks and provides the essential ingredient of nuclear weapons. I have just spent the weekend in South Australia at the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance meeting. This is an organisation that has existed since about 1997. It is led by some very senior traditional Aboriginal people from right around the country, for whom uranium mining and nuclear waste dumping is not a matter of theory or political opinion but a matter of lived experience.
Most Australians have a healthy if distant scepticism for uranium mining, but for the people gathered in Quorn at the weekend these are matters of community life and death. At this point I pay my respects to the elders past and present who have led this campaign, often at great personal cost, and the campaigners from around the country, who are now into their third generation, who have stepped up against this industry since the fireballs of British nuclear weapons testing first lit up Central Australia.
20 Aug 2009
Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (1.17 pm)
I rise to speak on the same bill, and will express some of the same concerns just raised by Senator Brandis because the Australian Greens have taken a broadly similar position. We will not be moving any amendments to this bill; we are also happy to leave it non-controversial, but I do want to make a couple of comments.
As Senator Brandis has outlined, the bill [Law and Justice (Cross Border and Other Amendments) Bill 2009] establishes a cross-border scheme between three different states which applies to the region known as the NPY Lands, covering a very large portion of Central Australia. It does not only relate to that area, and that is something that is worth pointing out. Evidence provided in the committee hearings by the Attorney-General's Department identified for us that it generally enables state and Territory laws to operate across borders, extending the geographical area in which each jurisdiction applies, across the board to any part of Australia. So while the drafting and the timing of the bill is clearly intended to harmonise these legal processes through Central Australia, in fact there is nothing in the bill that would prevent it from applying right across the country.
20 Aug 2009
Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (10.13am)
That the Senate notes:
(a) an international petition with 275 signatories, expressing the view that the presence of warlords, corrupt officials and incompetent leaders will not win freedom, peace, stability and prosperity for the people of Afghanistan;
(b) the petitioners call to the international community, the United Nations and the International Court of Justice to help the people of Afghanistan by bringing those warlords and criminals implicated in the Human Rights Watch report, Blood stained hands to the International Court of Justice; and
(c) the Human Rights Watch report implicates former warlords in crimes against humanity, which should preclude them from running in the election for the post of Vice President.
18 Aug 2009
(Question No. 1487)
Senator Ludlam: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General-
(1) In regard to the case of R v Jack Thomas, can the Attorney-General provide total expenditure and costings for the investigation and prosecution of each bail application that was opposed, the first trial, the appeal, the applications for control orders, the second trial and all disbursements including counsel's fees, for each of the following agencies:
(a) the department;
(b) the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP);
(c) the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS);
(d) the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO); and
(e) the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
18 Aug 2009
(Question No. 1765)
Senator Ludlam asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 11 June 2009:
With reference to the Commonwealth Public Interest and Test Cases Scheme which has been administered by the department for the past 10 years:
(a) how many cases has it funded;
(b) what were the details of each of these cases;
(c) how many applications for funding have been refused; and
(d) can details be provided on each application that was rejected.
14 Aug 2009
Senator Ludlam asked the following question at the hearing on 27 May 2009:
Under operation Themis, 18 new police stations have been established in the NT. Currently only three of these communities have courts - how are the travel needs of defendants and victims being catered for now that the law enforcement capabilities have been increased?