Terrorism Suppression Bill: Submission process rushed through select committee in days

6 November 2019, 15:05 UTC |

The Government posted last night that there would only be five days for civil society to submit on the Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill, bringing the deadline for submissions forward to November 10.

Amnesty International Executive Director Meg de Ronde says that rushing through such a Bill is problematic.

“Minister Little said he wanted to push it through by the end of the year. That alone was concerning to us. Now it’s four days. It’s simply not enough time for constructive engagement with civil society. We need to enable input from people who are international experts, with people who focus on issues of liberty and freedom and participation from everyday people who may be impacted. That’s not what’s happening here.”

Amnesty International Executive Director Meg de Ronde

De Ronde says the minimum time for submissions to be lodged is usually six weeks to give those who wish to make submissions a realistic time to formulate their comments’ and that there ‘are likely to be complaints from members and the public if a limited timeframe is allowed for a substantial bill.’ Any Bill that is rushed through Parliament should be confined to situations that genuinely require an urgent approach.

“We are most definitely complaining. It’s really outrageous and provides virtually no time for response. This is a really concerning approach to justice.”

Amnesty International has an online action asking the Government to slow down the submission process.

“Amnesty International’s online action has barely been up 48 hours and it’s already garnered over 1,300 signatures and counting. People expected that this would be a free, fair, transparent and accessible Government. This process doesn’t seem to reflect that.”

Amnesty International Executive Director Meg de Ronde

De Ronde adds the submission process must be extended to include all groups of society who may be affected by the Bill.

“The deadline must be moved out for everyone or this is a done deal by Sunday.”