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Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security - 14/12/2015

EDRIES, Mr Zaahir, President, Muslim Legal Network (New South Wales)

KHAN, Ms Rabea, Vice-President, Muslim Legal Network (New South Wales)

[11:34]

CHAIR: I now welcome representatives of the Muslim Legal Network New South Wales. Although the committee does not require you to give evidence on oath, I remind witnesses that this hearing is a legal proceeding of parliament and warrants the same respect as proceedings of the House itself. The giving of false or misleading evidence is a serious matter and may be regarded as a contempt of parliament. The evidence given today will be recorded by Hansard. Do you wish to make some introductory remarks before we proceed to questions?

Mr Edries : Thank you, Chair. Honourable members and senators, we are grateful for the opportunity to address you. The Muslim Legal Network of New South Wales consists of a group of legal practitioners practising secular Australian law who identify within the Muslim faith. We are a group committed to the rule of law and the protection of civil liberties in this country. As an organisation, we appreciate the need for Australia to have effective measures in legislation to ensure security and safety for all Australians. Unfortunately, due to the time constraints related to this bill and our resources, we are unable to submit as comprehensively and meaningfully as we would have wished. Ideally we would have consulted community groups working with young people who may be radicalised to better articulate the practical effect of subjecting the control order regime to children and how that will operate. However, we would like to mention perhaps two of the most pressing points of our submission.

Firstly, the lowering of the age of control orders to 14 concerns us primarily because subjecting children to control orders will, in practical terms, further marginalise and alienate young people who are already feeling disconnected from society. We know from examples in the United Kingdom that the use of control orders can make subjects hostile towards investigate agencies and this is particularly damaging in the case of children. Experience from counter-radicalisation experts and academics around the world suggests community intervention, as opposed to policing and legislative intervention, provides a superior impact in avoiding potential radicalisation. We are also concerned by the approach towards children in control order proceedings being different from those in other criminal proceedings.

Secondly, we are concerned about the scope of the advocating genocide offence, particularly because of its potential impact on free speech. We are of the view that the current legislative framework is more than capable of dealing with the conduct intended to be captured by this provision. This is reflected in our submission. Those are our opening remarks.

CHAIR: Thank you.

Mr NIKOLIC: Thank you for your evidence. You just said the current legislative framework is more than adequate yet we are hearing a different story from those at the coalface of the counter-terrorism effort in this country. They point to this year's statistics of 400 high-priority counter-terrorism investigations, some several hundred people being stopped getting on aircraft, people fighting, people in Australia supporting through recruitment or funding. To what extent should we listen to those at the coalface of the counter-terrorism effort who say that the current legislative framework is not adequate?

Mr Edries : I should quickly clarify that. Their specific remarks were relating to the advocating genocide offence. However, I take you point. I think there is a balancing act that obviously needs to be played out. From a purely legal perspective, we need to look at the efficacy of these laws, how effective they are and what policing and legislative approach with respect to the issues which obviously this piece of legislation and preceding pieces of legislation seek to achieve—that is, obviously, trying to keep Australia safe. From the policing perspective, I can only assume that the AFP, ASIO and state police agencies are facing challenges that are potentially unique, they are new. Our experience thus far is that the legislation, as it has been described and has been operating since about 2005, has had a great effect in keeping Australia, for the most part, quite safe. If there is anything else you would like to point to, I am glad to—

Mr NIKOLIC: No. I was just trying to make the point that a lot of what this committee does is in response to those at the coalface, a changing situation over time and certainly a changing terrorism dynamic in the country and in the world over the last couple of years. I note in paragraph 5 of your submission—and I seek some clarification of this—you say:

These laws have, to date, only been applied to the Muslim community.

Is it your inference that the laws were structured so that they apply to only one group in our society? As someone who has been involved with this committee in, hopefully, making those laws better, it was about the terrorist not the religious affiliation of the terrorist.

Mr Edries : One of the examples we gave was with reference to right-wing type organisations like Reclaim Australia. The reason that we gave that example is that their behaviour is, within certain definitions of terrorism, potentially quite extreme and dangerous. These are pieces of information that we are receiving from the community. As I mentioned earlier, we did not have the opportunity to fully consult with the committee, but this is continuous feedback that we are receiving.

One of the things that is quite important to understand, particularly with respect to the six control orders that have been placed on people since their introduction—and I believe four of them are at least published—are all related to Muslim individuals. This sort of feeds the information that we are receiving from the community. This, particularly with respect to the introduction, tries to encapsulate some of the sentiments that we are receiving. As a body that identifies as Muslims, this is what the community itself brings to us. We hope that, as a part of our technical submissions, is at least somewhat instructive of how people who are subject to these types of control orders or the legislation generally are feeling.

Mr NIKOLIC: But is your submission intending to say that the legislation that has been brought forward in the last two years infers or intends application to only a particular sectional group in our society?

Mr Edries : I do not think it infers that at all. I think what the application of the legislation has shown is that, by and large, Muslim people have been subjected to the effect of the legislation.

Mr NIKOLIC: Surely it is not an extrapolation of what you are saying that there are other people involved in terrorism that are not being subjected to the legislative provisions that this committee and the parliament has passed.

Mr Edries : One example could be groups like Reclaim Australia and other right-wing groups that have threatened politically motivated violence towards other groups in the community.

Ms Khan : I think it is also a general comment as to the Muslim community being the most affected by these laws. At least they have been previously, and it seems to be that we are the community that is going to be most affected.

Mr NIKOLIC: At paragraph 13, in the very last sentence, when you talk about the breaching provisions of control orders, you say:

Not to mention, the debilitating effect that will have on the child’s sense of Australian identity and connection to community.

When it comes to control orders, what weighting should we put on impacts in our society? Given we are trying to control the behaviour of individuals who might be involved in terrorism offences, what sort of weighting should we put, for example, on a child's sense of Australian identity as a mitigating factor versus the child's involvement in preparations for, say, a terrorist act? I am just trying to get a sense on the importance you place on that aspect against the intent of the control order, which is to prevent a terrorist act which impacts society more broadly.

Ms Khan : Obviously the prevention of any terrorist act is extremely important and should be given the due weight. However, we have to realise that young people who are radicalised or at risk of being radicalised suffer some disconnection from greater society. The approach with dealing with children in criminal proceedings is different to the way we deal with adults, and there is a focus on accepting the dependence and immaturity they have and the need they have for assistance and guidance. So, in that respect, we are seeking that a more consistent approach be taken when dealing with children as is the case in other criminal proceedings—that is, working very closely with them, and not in a punitive way, with the focus of rehabilitation and addressing their needs directly.

Senator BUSHBY: I imagine you do not have the benefit of being able to have read the AFP submission, because that was only cleared by the committee this morning.

Mr Edries : Not yet.

Senator BUSHBY: I have it in front of me and have been looking at their reasons for control orders for young people aged 14 and above. I refer particularly to your comment that community intervention is a better way of avoiding radicalisation of young people than involvement of the police and/or control orders and this type of thing. The AFP acknowledge that as well. They consider that, for young people, all available measures to limit engagement with this type of impact should be taken. They go on to say that limiting engagement with the formal criminal justice system is critical to mitigating the threats posed by violent extremism. They agree with you that early intervention through voluntary programs is ideal. The concept of the control orders is a very rarely used measure at the extreme end. They say it fills a gap by allowing law enforcement to actively manage and divert those young persons—in this case—who are of greatest concern and vulnerability before they reach the point where there is clear evidence that they have been involved in terrorist activity. I think they are saying that it is a necessary measure to use rarely but when all else has failed, when the community intervention has not delivered the outcome that would be desired by all, when other measures that have been put in place have not reached that point but when that particular individual gets to a point where they are presenting a serious risk, and this is one way of capping that risk and hopefully limiting it. Do you have a comment on that?

Mr Edries : I will take you back to effectively what I said before—that is, community intervention plays a large part in stopping the need for these control—

Senator BUSHBY: And in many cases, no doubt, it works.

Mr Edries : Of course. I think it is important to understand that the application of a control order is definitely not a small thing. It cannot be overstated how detrimental to the development of the young person the application of any type of control order is—be they bail conditions in a regular criminal jurisdiction or, in this national security setting, with respect to control orders. I think that needs to be taken into account—apologies, I have lost my train of thought.

Senator BUSHBY: While you are thinking about that, you just indicated that this would have a very detrimental impact. It may well do, but there have only been six instances where the Commonwealth have employed control orders, so there is not a great deal of evidence out there as to the impact that will have on individuals. That tiny number, being only six instances, highlights that it is also only sparingly used in situations where all else has failed from the perspective of the security agencies. I am not sure we can draw too many conclusions as to the impact. One thing the AFP says is that it may actually benefit a young person in terms of deradicalisation, because the conditions will be tailored to ensure that the young person is not exposed to the people or the individuals who were promoting the radicalisation of that young person.

Mr Edries : I accept that is the position stated in the papers. I do not know whether or not that is supported by academic research. The overwhelming academic research suggests that intervention with respect to policing does not assist, and that is something that is pretty important.

Senator BUSHBY: But are you saying that the academic research says that intervention with respect to policing should never be used?

Mr Edries : No, not at all. I think—

Senator BUSHBY: What we are saying here is that all those other methods should be employed, but where they fail and they do not work—and with some individuals we know they do not—this is an appropriate way of trying to fill that gap of dealing with those individuals at that point.

Mr Edries : Sure, we accept that, as a very last resort, something like this—

Senator BUSHBY: That is sort of what they are saying but, at the moment, they do not have that ability with 14- to 15-year-olds. As we now know, people of that age can be involved in terrorist acts. If this is a method that can be employed to help address those, as one of the options of last resort—whether that is a 14- or 15-year-old or 16- or 17-year-old, if they are involved—and they are getting to that point where this is considered necessary and nothing else has worked, surely it should apply to a 14- or 15-year-old in the same way as it could to 16-, 17-, 18- or 19-year-old if all else has failed.

Mr Edries : You would think that would be a relatively extraordinary situation in—

Senator BUSHBY: It would be relatively extraordinary, but it is still possible.

Mr Edries : Correct.

Senator BUSHBY: The consequences are also extraordinary, if it is not put in place.

Mr Edries : And in those situations you would expect that the necessary investigations and charges would be made.

Senator BUSHBY: Then, you are, inherently, involving that 14- or 15-year-old in criminal prosecutions and exposing them to aspects that I would content and the AFP contends are probably more serious, in terms of how it impacts on a younger person, than a control order that says you are not allowed to talk to person A or person B or not allowed to go to this place or you have to be in a particular place for up to 12 hours out of 24. They still can go to school, church, the mosque or whatever it might be but there are certain things they cannot do. This is probably a lot less serious than allowing it to go through to the further point where they are subject to prosecution and criminal proceedings.

Ms Khan : It is not dissimilar to bail conditions that are imposed for criminal offences and can be imposed. Also, it is relevant that breaching of any of those orders carries a maximum penalty of five years and there is no distinction made between children and adults, in that regard. That is another concern for us—considering a child of 14 years of age, potentially, being imprisoned for five years, which would be the worst-case scenario.

Senator BUSHBY: That is a concern of which, no doubt, we all know. Thank you.

Mr NIKOLIC: As my colleague said, the measure is sparingly used but evidence to this committee, from the AFP and others, is that it is not a numbers game. One person can have a strategic effect—the Lindt cafe siege in Martin Place; a person with a weapon closed down a city block for a couple of days; and, as we saw, a relatively small number of people in Paris. And, I think, one person in Ottawa had a strategic effect. So there is a stark difference between the agency's perspective on the value of control orders—and we have said to this committee that in our consideration of the foreign fighters bill they supported retention of the control order regime, albeit, as my colleagues pointed out, with various protections. But at paragraph 26 of your submission you not only say that control orders have not been proven to assist in prosecution offences but also that they act as an impediment to the prosecution of terrorist offences. Could you expand on that claim?

Ms Khan : That submission relied, quite heavily, on the previous independent monitor's report of 2012, which we accept is now—

Mr NIKOLIC: Dated.

Ms Khan : Dated; yes. It can also be seen, of the four control orders that are known to the public, that there have been no successful prosecutions. There are a lot of issues around it. Many would agree that when it cannot be made out beyond reasonable doubt or a prima facie case cannot be established against these individuals that is when the control order regime is evoked.

Mr NIKOLIC: At paragraph 33 you talk about the length of control orders. Again, the evidence to this committee is that many of the complex counter-terrorism investigations can be over quite a significant length of time, where the police may have significant concerns about an individual or the connections between individuals, and they need significantly more time than three months to look into those patterns between people, perhaps to process terabytes of information.

If control orders for suspected adult terrorists may take longer, I notice you are saying that for children it should be only for three months without renewal. I am struggling with the concept of the age of the suspected offender versus the seriousness of the crime. If it takes longer than three months for a suspected adult terrorist, for our agencies to look into their contacts, many computers and many terabytes of information, why should we set an arbitrary three-month limit when it applies to children? Should it not be the offence rather than the age of the suspected perpetrator that is the key consideration, here?

Ms Khan : That raises a fair point. The intention behind that particular submission is really about the practical impact of something like a control order, which is akin to bail conditions in criminal proceedings, has on a child. That should be something that is given consideration. There should be some different treatment towards children, as opposed to adults. The impact on a young child is the intention behind a shorter time frame attributed to children.

Senator WONG: Thank you to your submission, the work you have done and for appearing before us today. Before I get to the black-letter law discussion, one of the themes of your presentation and the introduction to your submission is the perception of social division that you suggest these laws contribute to. It would be useful, certainly for me, to articulate that—to explain the perception.

Mr Edries : Thank you for that question. We have not had the opportunity or the benefit of exhaustive consultation with our community, but what we do get on an ad hoc basis from people, who may have been approached by policing agencies within New South Wales or even ASIO officials, are reports that there seems to be a targeting of young Muslim, potentially Middle Eastern, men and an almost threatening attitude by some—I would not say all—law enforcement agents in the way they question or interact with these people. From the perspective of many young people within the community—and I do not think it is just the Muslim community—there is an over-representation or a saturation of their attitude towards this legislation that it seems geared towards regulating these potentially at risk young people. That is not something we could leave out. It is an underlying theme in many areas within the Muslim community. Accurate or not, it is something that exists and something that is important to those people whom we do not necessarily represent but from whom we receive comment.

Senator WONG: You are communicating what others communicate to you.

Mr Edries : Indeed.

Senator WONG: You reference the comments that Mr Abbott made in your submission as well. Can I ask: why was that important to raise?

Ms Khan : It is important to raise it to understand the context in which these laws are coming into play, particularly with young children who are at risk of radicalisation. They are dealing with this sense of identity and sense of belonging to Australian or Western society. We are in a context where Islam is the top headline of every newspaper and every news channel. The place of Muslims in Australia is constantly being questioned, and these young people grow in that environment. There is a sense of growing social divisiveness, as groups like Reclaim Australia have shown. When we are talking to young people about the reasons for radicalisation it is relevant that we also address the context in which these children or young people are coming from.

Senator WONG: We are having this discussion in the context of changes to the law. We will obviously have deliberation as a committee about those changes, but how they are perceived is another thing.

Ms Khan : Yes.

Senator WONG: Whilst Mr Nikolic and I are often at different ends of the argument, essentially what he and Senator Bushby were saying was that, if these are thought to be necessary, that is not an endorsement of the way in which some might perceive these laws. Do you see what I am saying?

Ms Khan : Yes.

Senator WONG: So what would you say to parliamentarians about how to conduct this debate?

Ms Khan : I think we have to be very careful with the language we use and we have to encourage social harmony. This is not a clash of civilisations. We are talking about Australians. I stress the need to be careful in the language that is used.

Senator WONG: Thank you.

Senator GALLAGHER: I want to follow on from Senator Wong's point. It is difficult when you are inquiring into legislation because legislation can never pull in other social impacts and consequences at times. You make reference in the submission to rehabilitation in paragraph 31, which states:

It is a well-established principle that rehabilitation is to be the ultimate focus of any approach when dealing with children … The control order regime—

which is what is proposed in these laws—

if applied to children, will be completely void of this.

Do you think there is something that can be done in the legislation that can address that or do you think that is something that has to run alongside legislation in specific programs and initiatives that address the radicalisation of young Australians?

Ms Khan : I think we can put into the legislation the same kinds of provisions that have been put into state legislation about dealing with children.

Senator GALLAGHER: In state statute around juvenile justice?

Ms Khan : Yes, and the kinds of principles that the court is to take into account.

Senator WONG: Sorry, I just want to follow up. To reflect how our criminal justice system essentially deals with children differently to adults, to reflect that principle, in these laws; would that be a summary?

Ms Khan : That is correct. I can give the example of section 6(b) of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 that encapsulates the principles that the court is to take into account. If something like that were to be placed into this regime it would certainly be better than leaving it out completely.

Senator GALLAGHER: Thank you.

Mr RUDDOCK: I was not going to say anything other than you have made some observations about the importance of being an inclusive society. I just want to affirm my personal and my party's commitment to our society being absolutely inclusive.

Ms Khan : Thank you.

Mr RUDDOCK: I see this legislation as dealing with behavioural issues and I would not care what a person's faith was. The issue is the behavioural issues that may pose a risk to others. I think legislation has to be seen absolutely in that context. I do understand that there are people who express views that I find totally abhorrent to the sort of society that I want to live in and would exclude others on grounds that are just totally inappropriate. People making a commitment to our society, the rule of law and parliamentary democracy and being tolerant of people's different religious views, as we expect them to be tolerant of us—all of that is of fundamental importance it seems to me. But I also think that feeling like a victim cannot leave you believing that acting in relation to these matters is in some way inappropriate. I just want to ensure that you understand that, when I am looking at these matters, I am going to try and come to it with a sense of balance and perspective, to protect the broader Australian community, and I mean all those who make a commitment to this nation and its future.

Ms Khan : We do, and we appreciate those comments.

Senator WONG: There was one factual thing I wanted to clarify. You say in your submission that Muslim leaders and organisations have been actively consulting with the government to raise concerns about the ineffectiveness of amendments to the counter-terrorism laws over the last 18 months. Are you referencing a structured consultation process?

Mr Edries : It is not. I will give you a brief explanation. Our organisation is occasionally invited to consult in certain things, this being one of them, and this committee has invited us on a few occasions and we have appeared. Other organisations which deal with other things, such as social welfare commitments and other matters which are outside of our purview, get invited to other types of consultations. They have other issues that they raise. As I mentioned before, we have a limited ability to consult with those community organisations and raise these issues. Obviously, as much as we are looking at the legislation, there are cross-professional issues which these impact upon. As I mentioned earlier, we have psychologists and social workers and people who work with children who are directly impacted by this legislation. More recently, we have had some children before the court who have had obvious psychological trauma. They have been involved in things that we would hope they were not. These are things that are important. In saying the consultations are reasonably regular, they are not always structured as we would like them to be and they do not always give us the opportunity to canvass all of the issues along all of the different disciplines.

Senator WONG: So, whatever your view on the legislation, you might also have a view about some parallel or complementary social or other community programs which you might say ought accompany these sorts of changes to our—

Mr Edries : I think there are organisations better equipped than us to provide the specific details, but, yes, these sorts of pieces of legislation which aim to protect young children, as the explanatory memorandum says, need to take those things into account, need to engage with those community organisations, because, again, just to bring us back to the legal point, we are dealing with restricting someone's liberty, which is quite a serious matter. In the democracy we live in, we value liberty quite highly. What we are doing is we are saying to children, as a result of however the legislation defines that particular action: 'You cannot do this because we have placed you under a control order for your own protection.' Children, as we have mentioned before, potentially do not understand this. We have heard, from people who have spoken before us, about the court advocate and the impacts of those. There are a lot of considerations to take in, specifically with legal representation.

CHAIR: Could I ask you a question regarding advocating genocide. You argue against the inclusion of offence for publicly advocating genocide. Can you just go through the reasons why, please?

Mr Edries : Sure. I will let my colleague speak to it.

Ms Khan : We note that there are existing provisions regarding urging violence and advocating terrorism that can deal with hate speech. Our main concern with this offence is the deletion of the intention element—even 'recklessness' is silent here. It opens up a very broad scope of the type of conduct that can come under this. Although we appreciate the intention of the type of conduct that is being targeted, with the way it is drafted at present, it could potentially open up to many unintended situations as well. We are talking about social media, for example. Could liking or sharing a post or something as simple as that advocate genocide? We just do not know and, until those test cases come through, we will not know. That is our primary concern.

CHAIR: Okay. So say a primary post advocating genocide, you see that potentially that needs to be dealt with and your worry is the potential unintended consequences of someone falsely liking such a post or retweeting such a post. Is that the major concern or is it also with how you would deal with someone who, on the face of it, would seek to be genuinely advocating genocide?

Ms Khan : Perhaps the types of matters that could be discussed in public about genocide, even if the intention is not there but someone deems it to be advocating—those kinds of people can become subject to this offence and that is a concern.

CHAIR: But would you like us to be able to deal with the fact that, if someone is out there advocating genocide, that we have some laws in place to try to deal with that?

Ms Khan : I would think the urging violence provisions and even the advocating terrorism provisions could encapsulate that. They are quite broad in their scope.

Mr Edries : What is also important is that the advocating terrorism law is relatively untested and, as my colleague said, is quite broad. Having a broad piece of legislation or a broad offence which could encapsulate the proposed advocating genocide provision, could see us with not only an overlap in legislation but a confusion in the legislation. So if we are going to make sure we are protecting people against hate speech or however we classify the types of actions we are protecting against, we want it to be a reasonably clear piece of legislation. There is a real danger that it will suffer some confusion, particularly where there is an overlap. Overlapping and untested pieces of legislation leave holes for interpretation at a later date.

CHAIR: But there is a difference, you would acknowledge, between advocating violence, advocating terrorism and advocating genocide?

Mr Edries : As it is drafted, the advocating genocide provision may be captured by the violence provisions and the advocating terrorism provisions as they stand. While linguistically there might be a difference, I think potentially it could be captured by the existing piece of legislation, which is referring to my last point with overlap. I accept that they may as a broad proposition be differing in the semantics or in the linguistics but the prosecution as they exist within the legislation exists sufficiently as we see it.

Mr NIKOLIC: If I understand the intent of what is being proposed here, it is that the incitement provision you say already exists under 11.4 of the Criminal Code where it can be proven there is an actual intent to proceed with the violent act. As I understand what is proposed here, it is to supplement that, as we in other legislation where we have said it is not just those who perpetrate the act but the recruiters, the funders, the urgers, if you like, those who provide the imprimatur or the motivation for the terrorist act, those in positions of influence perhaps over younger, impressionable people who are trying to find their way in life and society, that this provision seeks to encapsulate. You are saying that unless it can be proven there is that nexus, the proximity to the carrying out of a terrorist act, then you see no role to address the tactics of the urgers, the inciters, the motivators, the haters who try to influence young people to do some of the things we have seen on our streets in the last two years.

Mr Edries : I think the advocating terrorism provision, particularly with respect to recent events, would sufficiently deal with those particular 'urgers', as you call them, because that is, as I see it, specifically how that provision is designed to work. While there is no clarity as to how it actually operates, perhaps some instruction could be sought from the Commonwealth department of public prosecutions on that, but that is how I see the piece of legislation operating. Whether or not advocating genocide is to therefore supplement, perhaps an amendment on the existing legislation would keep it in line with those matters where we test with an intent and recklessness being more appropriate. It is not that I think we do not need it; I think it could already be sufficiently covered. We do not have a reasonable test case, as far as I know, to show that it is not. Therefore, the assumption is it could be covered. What we are mindful of is throwing a very wide net which could impact on people's ability to speak freely about issues. There are valid concerns for many people in the general wider community with respect to issues around the world, be they speaking about ISIS or any other terrorist type of organisation. What we have to do is not to limit or stifle discussion about how we address those issues. And that is a potential issue we see if we proceed with the advocating genocide provision as it stands.

Ms Khan : What that also does is it pushes those discussions underground, which is dangerous. They should be open to criticism and open to be challenged. We are certainly not saying we are advocating that hate speech should be without any restrictions but it does need to be considered that pushing these conversations underground is effectively what these provisions will do, which potentially will be more dangerous.

Mr NIKOLIC: But does it not also allow an earlier intervention into the radicalisation process with, if you like, stretched proximity with the previous laws which this committee and this parliament has implemented by saying that the recruiters, the urgers and the funders are now subject to law, and funding, of course, enables, perhaps in the longer period of time, terrorist acts? Does it not also enable us to intervene earlier with those in society who have influence over younger impressionable people at the point of urging that we can cut that off and perhaps can influence that radicalisation process earlier by making sure that the urgers do not have an opportunity to promulgate their hateful ideology which may, in time, lead to the sorts of acts we see on our streets?

Ms Khan : It may also lead to those urgers simply spreading the message in less public ways and within smaller groups. I think it is a fair point that it may prevent larger audiences but it certainly does not eradicate that particular concern.

Mr NIKOLIC: Thank you.

CHAIR: Thank you for giving evidence at the hearing today. You will be sent a copy of the transcript of your evidence, to which you may suggest corrections. If you have been asked to provide any additional material, please forward this to the secretariat as soon as possible. If the committee has any further questions, the secretariat will write to you.

Ms Khan : Thank you very much.

Mr Edries : Thank you.