On 17 October 2013, the Human Rights Law Centre lodged a submission with Queensland's Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee on the G20 (Safety and Security) Bill 2013. The Bill gives broad sweeping powers to police, creates new offences and presumptions against bail for the duration of the G20 meeting to be held in Brisbane between 14 and 17 November 2013. The HRLC’s submission, entitled “G20, Security and Human Rights”, addresses a number of human rights concerns raised by the Bill.
The G20 is a global event attracting a number of high profile global leaders and the Bill addresses the legitimate concern regarding the safety and security of attendees and local residents. However, a balance must be struck between this and respecting the public’s freedom of expression, freedom of association, right to peaceful assembly and right to privacy during the G20 meetings. The HRLC believes the Bill goes far too far in infringing on these rights and could have a stifling effect on legitimate peaceful protest.
The G20 event will showcase Queensland and Australia to the world. The Queensland Government should ensure that legislation around the event promotes and protects fundamental human rights, rather than undermining them. With amendment, the Bill can achieve the appropriate balance between security and protest rights.
The HRLC makes various recommendations, including: requiring police officers to hold a reasonable suspicion before using the search powers, or the powers to request identity and reasons for presence, under the Bill; and removing the presumption against bail in the Bill or at a minimum removing the presumption against bail for “disrupting” offences.
A copy of the HRLC’s submission can be found here.
A media release on this submission is available here.