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Thursday, 29 March 2001
Page: 26078

Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (10:40 AM) —in reply—In summing up this very substantial debate on the Law and Justice Legislation Amendment (Application of Criminal Code) Bill 2001, I will be briefer than the honourable member for Parramatta, maybe even approaching the unusual brevity of my colleague the honourable member for Denison. This bill is an important step in the process of finalising the Criminal Code to ensure that all offence creating and related provisions throughout the Commonwealth legislation are drafted in a manner which makes them work under the general principles established by the code. While a majority of offences will operate as they always have, without amendment, there are some that will require adjustment. It is important that all such amendments are made prior to the application on 15 December 2001 of the principles of the Criminal Code to all offences against Commonwealth legislation in order to ensure that there is a seamless transition.

The cooperation of all political groupings on important issues such as this is very important and desirable, and I am pleased to say that it is evident today. Listening carefully to the speech of the shadow minister for justice and customs, I regret that he finds this sort of legislation boring. But the government is thankful for his support and that of the opposition in relation to this matter.

The contribution made by the honourable member for Parramatta was, as always, thought provoking, highly intellectual and well thought out. It was excellent for us to be given advice on the virtues of the criminal law and the values in our society which underpin it. I commend the member for Parramatta on his original approach to debating this bill and on making such a worthwhile contribution which will now be forever enshrined within the parliamentary Hansard of this place.

The criminal code is a significant step in the reform of our system of justice. It is important that it be implemented in a way that is considered and pays careful regard to the way Commonwealth offence provisions are to work in practice, and this bill is an important step in that process. I thank honourable members for their support. I am hopeful that this bill will be unanimously backed by all members in this chamber.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that the bill be reported to the House without amendment.