Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 745

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (15:31): by leave—I move amendments (1) to (6) and (8) to (11) as circulated in my name together:

(1) Clause 1, page 1 (lines 5 and 6), omit "Serious or Organised", substitute "Serious and Organised".

(2) Schedule 1, item 2, page 3 (lines 9 and 10), omit "serious or organised", substitute "serious and organised".

(3) Schedule 1, item 3, page 3 (line 15), omit "serious or organised", substitute "serious and organised".

(4) Schedule 1, item 4, page 3 (line 18), omit "Serious or organised", substitute "Serious and organised".

(5) Schedule 1, item 4, page 3 (line 21), omit "serious or organised", substitute "serious and organised".

(6) Schedule 1, item 4, page 3 (line 24), omit "serious or organised", substitute "serious and organised".

(8) Schedule 1, item 7, page 5 (line 3), omit "serious or organised", substitute "serious and organised".

(9) Schedule 1, item 12, page 5 (line 22), omit "Serious or organised", substitute "Serious and organised".

(10) Schedule 1, item 12, page 5 (lines 25 and 26), omit "serious or organised", substitute "serious and organised".

(11) Schedule 1, item 12, page 6 (line 4), omit "serious or organised", substitute "serious and organised".

The amendments that I have moved in this first section are amendments relating to the distinction between 'serious or organised' and 'serious and organised'. This is not just a question of language; it is a question of language translating into action when it comes to legislation. The significance of this is that the amendments that I have moved are consistent with the recommendations of the National Ice Taskforce and the Joint Committee on Law Enforcement report from 2011. That is the basis of the Transport Security Amendment (Serious or Organised Crime) Bill 2016. These amendments would replace the statement—including the title, it must be said—of the bill throughout this legislation. It is a uniform change and will impact the aviation and maritime bills in the same manner. It is important that we get the language right when we are adding new purposes to important legislation. We need to ensure that we are targeting identified problems in a precise manner. If we do not do that, we are inadvertently weakening the intent of the legislation by broadening the definition so widely that it undermines the intent of the bill to respond to organised crime involved in the trafficking of ice, and that was the basis of this legislation.

We on this side of the House are being constructive. We have not said that we will oppose the legislation. However, we have said, and given clear notice, not just to this minister but to the previous minister, that we have concern here that, essentially, what has happened is that whoever has drafted this legislation has been sloppy about it. I say that because it is the nicest term that can be used. It is better that this is an inadvertent error rather than something that is a calculated decision to abuse the circumstances of the trafficking of drugs to try to widen, in an improper way, the scope of the people who will be caught up by this definition.

As I said in parliament when this bill was first put forward during the last term, we are concerned that the mission of transport security remains tightly focused around managing the post 9-11 security environment. Currently, that is about safeguarding against unlawful interference at our regulated airports and seaports, and really focuses on terrorist-related activity—and that is the purpose of this legislation. These amendments are intended to widen that purpose to include targeting serious criminality which may not be unlawful interference of a terrorist type, which is what is in the previous definition in the bill. Now, no doubt, serious criminality should be targeted. It is of a different focus to terrorism—hence, this legislation. We acknowledge that and we are being constructive in the arguments that we are putting forward. So whilst Labor will not oppose the widened purpose—widening it from terrorism to serious criminality, particularly in the context of the trafficking of ice and other serious drugs—it is important that we take up the experts' opinion. The views of the experts who conducted the Ice Taskforce and the Joint Committee on Law Enforcement report should be the basis of the legislation, rather than us taking it upon ourselves to widen it inappropriately. (Extension of time granted)

The problem with what the government has done here is that the language has changed from 'serious and organised crime' to 'serious or organised crime'. We believe that we should follow the experts. Frankly, I will be surprised if the government rejects these amendments, because this is an opportunity for the government to have consensus around this legislation. That is certainly always my preferred option. If the government does not agree to the amendments here, perhaps the government might take it upon itself to move the same amendments in the Senate as government amendments. We do need to get this right and wherever possible we have tried to create a circumstance whereby transport security is above the day-to-day argy-bargy of politics that often infects this fine democratic institution here in the House.

I refer to the Ice Taskforce report. I say to the minister, who was not responsible for this bill, that this is an opportunity for him as the new transport minister to show how much better he is than the transport minister that he replaced and suggest that he read the report. This transport minister should not try to attain more than transport ministers any further back than that—because, put simply, the Nats will never have the big picture—but he can be the best National Party transport minister. That is the opportunity that he has here. The Ice Taskforce report uniformly talks about targeting 'serious and organised crime'. The Joint Committee on Law Enforcement report of the inquiry into the adequacy of aviation and maritime security measures always refers to 'serious and organised crime'. Both reports refer to it throughout. This is something that the current Minister for Justice should recall, if the transport minister wishes to consult with him, because he was a member of the joint committee at the time. Indeed, this is what the joint committee unanimously recommended to this parliament:

The committee recommends that the scope of the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 and the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 be widened to include serious and organised crime in addition to terrorist activity and unlawful interference.

All we are suggesting is that you go to that unanimous recommendation. Indeed, the Attorney-General's Department's submission on this bill during the previous parliament uniformly talked about targeting 'serious and organised crime'. The law enforcement agencies, such as the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, almost always refer to 'serious and organised crime'. The Australian Crime Commission Amendment (National Policing Information) Bill 2015, the coalition government's legislation, which Labor supported and which was carried through both houses of parliament last year, refers to—guess what, Minister? 'Serious and organised crime'. Indeed, the Senate report on this very bill talks about targeting 'serious and organised crime', despite the use of 'or' throughout. This is never explained. Only the bill itself uniformly talks about targeting 'serious or organised crime'. Even the department's 2015-16 annual report, tabled in the House on 7 November last year, refers to this legislation, on page 30, as targeting 'serious and organised crime'.

I commend these amendments to the House. They are important amendments. This is not a matter of semantics; this is a matter of ensuring that we truly target, in an appropriate way, serious and organised crime.