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Wednesday, 30 June 1999
Page: 6970


Senator COONEY (5:26 PM) —I want to follow on from what Senator Woodley was saying, which somebody ought to keep in mind with legislation like this: we as legislators ought to ensure that it is the objectionable action that is caught up in this. In this case, what we objected to, and what Senator Woodley quite rightly objected to, was the trading in people. The difficulty is how to draw legislation that targets that specific group, and how to administer it. I will give an example of what I mean. Section 236 of the legislation increases the penalty to some number of years. It says:

A person must:

. . . . . . . . .

(b) without reasonable excuse have in his or her possession or under his or her control a visa that was not granted to him or her

If you came across a person or a group of people who were trafficking in illegal migrants and had visas in his or her possession, then you would say that that ought to be punished, but say you had a mother and a wife who had in her possession five or six visas? I cannot get myself through airports very well. I need my wife to do it for me.

Senator Patterson interjecting


Senator COONEY —They disappear on me. They are two quite distinct positions. As Senator Woodley said, those sorts of distinctions should be kept clearly in mind. You can make this work only if you have a process, the quality of which is kept high. You need a judicial system or a system of tribunals to make sure that all this is properly kept in line. Fortunately the Australian Federal Police are sensible and go-ahead, but unless you have people who are able to police sensibly and unless you have a system of courts that oversee all this, you are really going to run into all sorts of problems trying to administer sections of acts which must be drawn widely.