Ms LEE RHIANNON [8.28 p.m.]: The Greens do not support the Evidence (Audio and Audio Visual Links) Amendment Bill. We recently supported a bill that regulated how child detainees can give evidence via audio and audiovisual links but this bill goes a step too far in dictating evidence procedures to the courts. The Evidence (Audio and Audio Visual Links) Act 1998 has already trampled on the common law and the traditional practices of the court. The common law says that accused people have a right to appear in court to face charges against them, but that was changed by the 1998 Act. Because of that Act, there is now no automatic right to appear in court in preliminary proceedings. In fact, in those cases there is a presumption in favour of using an audiovisual link.With substantial criminal matters the presumption is still in favour of physical appearance, that is, accused people have the right to appear in court. But the bill makes further changes. The new rules would allow the court to use audiovisual links for an accused person if that person's physical attendance might threaten the security of the courtroom. This provision might sound reasonable to many members, but it is unnecessary. The courts are capable of making a decision whether an accused would threaten security, and there is no need for a law to spell that out. The courts are capable of assessing security threats and taking steps to deal with them, including the use of audiovisual links, and they have the authority and power to do so.The bill is not just unnecessary it also creates new problems. Under proposed subsection 5BB (5) (d), one of the factors that might cause the judge to order the use of an audiovisual link is the accused's behaviour in custody. But the accused's behaviour in custody may be no guide to how they will behave in court. And it is not clear who will decide whether that behaviour might recur in court, or might threaten the court. Who will give a judge or a court the evidence about the accused's behaviour in detention and what it means for the courtroom's security? Will it be the Department of Corrective Services? If so, what will the procedures be for this? The Greens are concerned that the bill gives to the Department of Corrective Services considerable power over the rights of accused people to appear in court.The Hon. John Hatzistergos: It is a great thing.Ms LEE RHIANNON: The interjection of the Minister shows that he is one more Minister for Corrective Services who has gone the Woodham way. We urge the Government to remove this provision from the bill. The courts are the best arbiter of when and how audiovisual links should be used, and the matter should remain in their hands. It should not be in legislation, in regulations that we have not seen yet, or in the hands of the Department of Corrective Services.
Evidence (Audio and Audio Visual Links) Amendment Bill - 18/11/2003 - 2R - NSW Parliament
The Judicial Audio Visual Amendments (JAVA) Bill is where the chisel of George Bush's intrusive, controversial and potentially illegal Patriots act, meets the coalface of the average Australian's rights. As we are all aware, the November Elections in America will decide between, the more of the same policies of John McCain and the time for change approach of Barrack Obama. If the later manages to pull off the coupe of the century, then the Republican's won't be able to continue stacking the Supreme Court Judiciary and we are likely to see a repeal of the Acts that were ratified under the Bush Regime's. This could lead to Criminal Charges being laid against High Officials in the habit of ignoring peoples Human Rights in their pursuit of "Terrorists" and in Australia we could see a similar flow on effect.
Now it may seem strange to those of us who like to give people the benefit of the doubt but if for whatever reason you found yourself being survailed through the medium we have all come to know and love over the Bush and Howodd years, then wouldn't it be ironic if the tables were turned and the one's that have been ignoring other people's rights suddenly became subject to the same Amendment Bill they used against anyone they deemed to be 'unpatriotic'.
The term 'un-Australian is a subjective one, subject to the currant will of the people; if paranoid behaviour suddenly becomes un -Australian then under the current laws, as they stand now, anyone displaying those tenancies could be removed from the flock, placed under surveillance and tried in Kangaroo Courts without them ever knowing they were under suspicion. If I had of been a rampant Bushite, operating at a Govern-mental level over the last ten years then I would be trying my damndest to have the Judicial Audio Visual Amendment (JAVA) Bill, amended as the Greens have suggested or book my ticket to somewhere else in the world where my unusual skills might be more appreciated.