Triggs deserves respect: Shadow Treasurer

Gillian Triggs has the right to slam politicians for over-reaching ministerial power, but Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen says they don’t have to agree with her.

The Human Rights Commissioner said in a speech on Friday night that ministers increasingly used their powers without legal oversight.

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“A growing threat to democracy is the expansion of discretionary, often non-compellable, ministerial powers that may be exercised with limited or no judicial scrutiny,” Professor Triggs said at a dinner on Friday night.

“What are the options for democracy when both major parties, in government and opposition, agree upon laws that violate fundamental freedoms?”

Shadow treasurer Mr Bowen said Prof Triggs was exercising her responsibilities and her views should be respected.

“The Human Rights Commissioner has not only a right to her view but the responsibility to put that view, even if some of those views we may disagree with that,” he told reporters on Saturday.

“We respect her office and her as an individual.”

Prof Triggs criticised both new and proposed laws that would strip citizenship from Australians suspected of committing terror attacks.

“Many laws introduced with unseemly haste before Christmas in the name of national security go well beyond what might be deemed to be necessary, creating a chilling effect on freedom of speech and the press,” she said.

Mr Bowen said Labor wanted to see the government’s legislation, but the opposition supported updating laws around citizenship and terror.

“We think it’s appropriate given the rise of non-state actors like Daesh that these laws do be updated but we want to see the legislation as soon as possible.”

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