Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill looks like a fig leaf for failure

“It’s disheartening to see the Government changing the law in response to the March 15 murders in a way the Justice Minister readily admits wouldn’t have prevented the events of March 15,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“ACT thinks it’s important to see the detail of the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill, which will be introduced to Parliament today, but legislating for the sake of it is never wise, especially if it’s unlikely to be necessary or effective.

“To start with, section 5 of the Terrorism Suppression Act adequately defines terrorism in a way that includes the actions that took place on March 15.

“Those actions were also adequately covered by sections 175 and 310 of the Crimes Act, which cover conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit an offence.

“If anything, widening the definition of terrorism arguably makes it less meaningful, and using the term fear as a legal standard arguably cheapens the concept of what terrorism is.

“The truth appears to be that the Government is changing the law to obscure the fact that actually its agencies failed when the law wasn’t actually the problem.

“We accept that if there is a problem it might be in relation to cybercrime, and on that, as well as other elements of the bill, we will be eager to see the detail.”