Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 1993



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 1993

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Parliamentary Record 21


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 21 October 1993 Mr MANZIE: Mr Chairman, the question raised by the Leader of the Opposition is a reasonable one. The answer is in proposed new section 441(4) which states that a person shall be delivered to a member of the police force and ' the Police Administration Act shall apply to and in relation to the person and the member as if the arrest had been made under that act'. The normal powers of arrest that the police have apply. The following subsections provide a protection for both the person arrested and the police officer if the arrest cannot be substantiated. Persons arrested 'under subsection (2)(a) shall be held in custody only while the reason for the person's arrest, as referred to in that paragraph, continues'. The person 'shall be released immediately from custody where it becomes apparent that the person did not commit the offence for which the person was arrested' . The police have the same powers of arrest as are provided to them under the Police Administration Act. There is protection for the police. In relation to the member for MacDonnell's query about the government's policy in relation to the common law, we have introduced an amendment that brings us into line with every other state and territory. It provides a statutory power of arrest for citizens that is more extensive than the common law power. This provision merely brings us into line with all other jurisdictions in Australia. My advice is that the provision is no more extensive than any other statutory power in Australia and that it has arguably more safeguards than any other similar legislation in Australia to prevent possible abuse. The bottom line is that this gives Territory citizens the same rights as other citizens in Australia and provides more safeguards than are available elsewhere. Mr BELL: Mr Chairman, I move amendment 139-! This omits from proposed new section 441(2)(a) the words 'offence or doing an act or behaving or conducting himself, or in such circumstances, that the person believes on reasonable grounds that the offender has committed an'. That will give effect to what was outlined by myself and the Leader of the Opposition in the second-reading debate. It will restrict the operation of that paragraph to the occurrence immediately before the person perceives what is happening. For that reason, we believe basically that the idea that we allow citizens to turn themselves into investigators is not a desirable proposal. We believe that the arrest power should be restricted if the government intends to legislate in this way. It should be restricted to the person perceiving an offence being committed and, for that reason, I believe that this amendment should be supported. Mr MANZIE: Mr Chairman, the government does not support the amendment. In fact, what has been proposed would remove a power from Territory citizens that all other Australian citizens have, and I think that any person who actually wants to go that way can make a fuss about it. I believe that we would be negligent in our duty if we removed those particular words. In effect, it would make the provision far more onerous for the average citizen. I believe that trying to remove the protections for the actions of a reasonable man is unreasonable in itself. We would be wasting time if we were even to discuss the matter further. I went through the wording of the bill in some detail. I pointed out that a person has to be found committing an offence and the person arresting them has to believe, on reasonable grounds, that that person was committing an offence. It is a pretty sensible provision, and to remove it would be detrimental to Territorians. I point out that this power is used extremely rarely. The member for Millner indicated very clearly the dangers of citizens running around 10 235