ACT Government leads the way on anti-terrorism

The ACT Government is again proving to be a beacon for human rights protection in Australia, much to the displeasure of the Federal Attorney-General.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) welcomes the ACT Government’s reasoned approach in addressing terrorism with the passing of the Terrorism (Extraordinary Temporary Powers) Act 2006 (ACT).

The Act states in its preamble that the ACT Legislative Assembly is committed to addressing terrorism by ‘implementing United Nations resolutions relating to terrorism by adopting counter-terrorism measures that are consistent with international human rights obligations’.

The ACT Government has indicated that whilst terrorism may justify enactment of extraordinary measures, these measures should be temporary and must preserve Australia’s fundamental legal principles including the rule of law, respect for the legal process, the separation of powers and respect for human rights.

Robin Banks, Chief Executive Officer of PIAC, said today:

PIAC commends the ACT Government’s protection of the human rights of individuals through its legislative adherence to key international human rights treaties including the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishments and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

From its adoption of the Human Rights Act to its attempts to recognise same-sex relationships, the Australian Capital Territory is proving itself to be the nation’s leader in ensuring residents are protected from unjustified and excessive Government interference.

It is of deep concern that the Federal Attorney-General seems bent on overriding any moves by the ACT Government to promote, respect and fulfill the human rights of its residents. The ACT Government is working hard to find an appropriately balanced approach to implementing counter-terrorisim laws that are consistent with human rights. These laws and principles should and can work in support of each other. It is vital that the very rights and freedoms that we hold dear in our democracy are not lost in response to threats of terrorism by groups that do not similary support fundamental democratic or human rights principles.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,

Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169

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