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Thursday, 16 May 1985
Page: 2032

Senator COATES —by leave-I withdraw Business of the Senate Notice of Motion No. 1 standing in my name for today for the disallowance of the National Crime Authority Regulations (Amendment). I seek leave to make a short statement of explanation on behalf of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances.

Leave granted.

Senator COATES —An amendment to the National Crime Authority Regulations contained unusual provisions which empowered the Authority to serve a summons on a witness in a very indirect and potentially hazardous way. If the Authority was satisfied that normal methods of service would not succeed, lawful service could be effected by serving a third person whom the Authority considered likely to bring the summons to the witness's attention, or by mailing the summons to a place which the Authority considered was frequented by the witness.

The Committee considered that it would be more protective of personal rights and liberties, and not impede the Authority in its work, if this unusual power were exercised by a judge in chambers rather than by a member or acting member of the Authority. The Special Minister of State (Mr Young) was invited to consider this suggestion and also the drafting of the Regulations. The notice of motion was due to come on today. Yesterday afternoon the Minister wrote to the Committee, accepting its proposals. He has given an undertaking that an urgent amendment will be made to the Regulations and that the powers of summons to which the Committee objected will not be exercised pending finalisation of this amendment.

The Committee met this morning and agreed that the Minister's response is satisfactory. It considers that this outcome is in keeping with the Committee's principles and commends the Special Minister of State for his co-operation. As the Senate will appreciate, the time-table I have outlined did not enable me to give notice of intention to withdraw and thus I sought leave to do so. I thank the Senate.