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Tuesday, 23 August 1994
Page: 88


Senator SPINDLER (6.44 p.m.) —I move:

1.Clause 8, page 7, after paragraph (3)(d), insert the following paragraphs:

"(da)the likelihood that any relevant evidence or statement by the witness is and will be truthful; and

"(db)the extent to which inclusion may prejudice any prosecution of the witness; and

  "(dc)whether inclusion may prejudice the legal rights of another person; and".

As I stated in my speech at the second reading stage, the Australian Democrats are concerned that the government has not included in this bill an express duty on the part of the commissioner to consider the reliability of the evidence in the light of the request to give protection to a witness who himself or herself is likely to be a criminal and who is therefore likely, firstly, to be let off and, secondly, to remain a danger to the community. The Australian Democrats believe that this particular issue is perhaps the central one in this bill. We believe that this duty must be expressly stated to enable the commissioner to address himself or herself to these questions, and also for the commissioner's decision to be examined and challenged.

  The amendment makes it mandatory for the commissioner to assess whether any relevant evidence or statement by the witness is likely to be truthful; the extent to which it may prejudice the prosecution of the witness; and whether the inclusion would prejudice the legal rights of another person. I look forward to the support of the government and of the opposition.