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Thursday, 24 March 1994
Page: 2157

Senator BOURNE (11.25 a.m.) —I have one technical question for the minister. The new proposed section 54ZA states at subsection (2):

Nothing in subsection (1) requires the Minister or any officer to:

(c) allow a person covered by subsection (1) access to advice (whether legal or otherwise) in connection with applications for visas.

We are a little worried that that waters down section 96 of the original act, which states:

Where a person is in custody under this Act, the person having his or her custody shall, at the request of the person in custody, afford to him or her all reasonable facilities. . . for obtaining legal advice or taking legal proceedings in relation to his or her custody.

We are bit worried that detainees will not be told what their rights are. The department may not be obliged to advise them of their rights under the proposed new section 54ZA(2)(c). I would like an assurance from the minister, if we can get it, that the department will advise detainees in custody what their legal rights are and help them to obtain those legal rights.