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Thursday, 16 February 2012
Page: 1592


Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong—Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) (10:40): I am sorry to disappoint the member for Melbourne. We do not support this amendment. We believe that we have put in important and significant safeguards for the use of coercive powers. We have acted in accordance with the Wilcox recommendations.

The safeguards are, of course, that a presidential member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal be satisfied on a case that has been made for the use of coercive powers on each occasion that they are used; individuals are represented by a lawyer of their choice; there is the right to refuse to disclose information on the grounds of legal professional privilege, and public interest immunity will be recognised; people summonsed for examination will be reimbursed for their reasonable expenses, including their reasonable legal expenses; all and every examination must be undertaken by the director or by an SES officer; and all and every examination will be videotaped and, informed by the videotapes, the Commonwealth Ombudsman will monitor and review all examinations and provide reports to the parliament on the exercise of these powers.

In addition to these and other safeguards we have put in, the bill contains a sunset clause for the coercive powers at the end of three years, which of course will be reviewed prior to the sunset.

The SPEAKER: The question is that the amendment moved by the honourable member for Melbourne be agreed to.

A division having been called and the bells having been rung—

The SPEAKER: As there are fewer than five members on the side for the ayes in this division, I declare the question negatived in accordance with standing order 127. The names of those honourable members who are in the minority will be recorded in the Votes and Proceedings.

Question negatived, Mr Bandt, Mr Wilkie and Mr Katter voting aye.