1 year ago




80 SENATE Tuesday, 14 February 2017 I note the amendment from Pauline Hanson's One Nation party, who in fact want to see racial profiling; they want to see racism in place in our airports. They want to say that no, we think this group of people are more likely to be security risks, purely on the basis of their race or other characteristics. We reject that completely, and we are pleased to see that this bill does not feature that. And I will be pleased to have that debate when we are addressing those amendments, to discuss how important it is that we do not resort to racial profiling in these screening measures, that everyone is treated equally, that the presumption of innocence is there for everyone, regardless of their background, their race, their gender or any other characteristics. The other really important thing we need to ensure with this legislation is that the screening of workers or travellers is not unnecessarily invasive or impinging on people's privacy. Security is important, but not at the expense of civil liberties and human rights. So I am pleased to note that, as noted in the explanatory memorandum, the government has carefully considered how the introduction of in-zone screening will impact the privacy of people working in restricted airport areas or zones and has ensured that privacy safeguards are in place. In conclusion, with those provisos in place—that we are not going to see racial profiling taking place, that people's rights, people's privacy, are being taken account of, that discrimination is not occurring, that nondiscrimination provisions currently exist in screening arrangements; it is really worth underlining how important it is that they are going to be taken forward into any future screening arrangements, because it would be a very bad step forward if that were to occur—the Greens are pleased to support this bill as a useful set of measures to maintain airport security in Australia. Senator STERLE (Western Australia) (19:13): I too rise to make my comments on the Transport Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2016, which we know has passed through the other house. We also know that Labor supports this bill; there is no argument. There is nothing more important in terms of transport than the security of our ports and our wharfs. And I can say that with a bit of background, because it was the Rural, Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, back when I first walked into this place, that was doing the inquiry into the MSIC—the Maritime Security Identification Card. But the previous card, the ASIC, as you would well know, Mr Acting Deputy President Gallacher, with your experience, like mine, around the airport—actually, you have far more experience around the airport, being a worn-out old baggage handler, which I say with the greatest of respect, because that is a tough gig, especially when you are doing it in Darwin or Alice Springs, like you did for many, many years, and kept those flights going. You were a magnificent servant to our nation, Mr Acting Deputy President. An honourable senator interjecting— Senator STERLE: Do you not believe me? He was a baggage handler. While you lot all sat there sipping champagne in the chairman's lounge, he was loading the plane. That is what he was doing. An honourable senator interjecting— Senator STERLE: He was shearing sheep back then, but he is not now, is he? It is like me—I am not moving furniture anymore. But I digress. Government senators interjecting— Senator STERLE: You see, Mr Acting Deputy President, how dare I congratulate an old blue-collar worker with dirt under the fingernails who has done the hard stuff? They still pounce on me. With the born-to-rule mentality on that side of the chamber, it is hard to be serious and make a wonderful contribution to transport security. So, to go back, when I first walked into this building, that was one of the first inquiries I walked into. The other one was the canker inquiry, and I will talk about that later, on another date. So I do know the importance, and, as Senator Rice said very clearly before me, we cannot overscreen. Senator Williams: You are sucking up to Senator Rice. Senator STERLE: I am not sucking up to Senator Rice. Senator Williams, that is a bit harsh. Crikey, we are all on the same side on this one. But I too worry about the security of our airports. I have done inquiries over the years where we have travelled the nation and we have talked up a good fight about security. I remember the 'don't be alarmed, be alert' and all that sort of stuff. I have sat with other members from the other side of the chamber at Karratha Airport and we had wonderful screening going on in the terminal. That was fine, but there was a threefoot wire fence you could jump over and you could do whatever you liked on the other side. We have come a long, long way. This bill, very clearly, takes that next step, where we can screen machinery, vehicles, workers and contractors once they are in the secure zone, which has never happened before. We should continue to keep going further. With your experience, Mr Acting Deputy President, you would know that we cannot overscreen freight. A lot of CHAMBER

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 SENATE 81 the time, in a lot of our ports, we have no idea what is coming through in these containers or whatever they may be. So this is a first step and a good step, and we should absolutely be able to instil in the travelling public in Australia that this government and governments to follow and previous governments put an absolute best foot forward to make sure, with the madness that is going on around the world, that Australian travellers can rest assured that there are no shortcuts in security—in aviation and on the waterfront. There is no argument at all. It is with great pleasure that I can make my contribution and talk this up and say to the government: 'I would like you to keep going. I would like you to put the big boy pants on and take one step further and instil in our national security a little bit more foresight in having a look at who is coming into our nation.' While I do not want to demean the work of the government, with the opposition and the minor parties supporting this, you still need to continue. It is all very well to talk up the tough fight, but—this digresses a little bit, but it is very important I share this with you—we have flag-of-convenience vessels, and in 2012 a captain came in on one of the largest coal carriers in this nation, and, strangely, two seamen lost their lives on his ship. I want to mention the great work that the Rural, Regional Affairs and Transport Committee is doing. And I will tell you why it does: because it has members like Senator Williams, Senator O'Sullivan and Senator Back, who support me and you, Mr Acting Deputy President, when you were on the RRAT committee, and other members. We do take this seriously. I am proud to say that this is the most bipartisan Senate committee in this building, because it just puts the best interests of Australia and Australians first. A Filipino captain who had lost two of his seafarers to terrible deaths came into our port. Then he confessed to being a gun-runner. I am not making this up. This sounds like a bad American B-grade movie. Unfortunately, it is true. But the kicker in this is that he sailed off. He went off. The Japanese owned the vessel and the Japanese were doing the investigation. I cannot believe I have to say this. Then there was a coronial inquest. It is still going. There was a coronial inquest in Sydney. The lawyers were up there, in the absence of Captain Salas. He was nowhere to be found. No-one knew where he was—ASIO, the AFP—no-one had a clue. So they were having the coronial inquiry in Sydney, and Owen Jacques, a reporter from north of Brisbane who had been following the case since 2012, flew down from the Sunshine Coast and was sitting in the spectator area listening to the prosecutor running the case about Captain Salas. At the smoko break, Owen Jacques walked up to the main lawyer said, 'Guess what, I know where Captain Salas is.' ASIO did not know. AFP did not know. Border control and Immigration did not know. He knew. He said, 'They are coming into the Port of Gladstone' on whatever ship it was. There was a flurry of activity. Debate interrupted. ADJOURNMENT The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Gallacher) (19:20): Order! I propose the question: That the Senate do now adjourn. Azerbaijan: Khojaly Tragedy Senator BACK (Western Australia) (19:20): In two weeks time the people of Azerbaijan will remember the 25th anniversary of what has been one of the more bloody events in their country's history, when more than 600 civilians, including women and children, were killed. It is true that throughout history bad things happen— innocent people are abused and killed. Many atrocities are known to us but most are not. That is because they may be a long way away, they might have happened a long time ago or they were not as publicised in our region as they might have been elsewhere. However, tonight provides an opportunity to reflect on this event and to acknowledge that such events come at massive costs and that their impact will be felt in families for generations to come. I take the opportunity to speak this evening to the events that occurred in the town of Khojaly in the now occupied territory of Azerbaijan, called Nagorno-Karabakh. This event took place on 25 and 26 February 1992, when the forces of the Armenian side, with the support of troops of the then-USSR, seized the town, a town of some 23,000 people. According to the Azerbaijanis, people were shot dead by Armenian soldiers or they froze to death. Armenia disputes the account and the number of deaths, and it says that Azeri soldiers were also involved in the violence that night, and accuses Azerbaijan's authorities of failing to move civilian population out of the area in time. Events of this nature are tragic, they are horrific, and of course they do no country any good in terms of its future and in terms of its relations with its neighbours or indeed with the wider community as represented through the United Nations. There have been disputes in the area over Nagorno-Karabakh going back way back to 1918. Soviet rule was imposed in 1921. War broke out in 1991. A ceasefire was brokered by Russia in 1994, and it is estimated now that the population of this region is 100,000 ethnic Armenians. As one would expect, very few CHAMBER

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