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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 748


Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (15:46): I am somewhat disappointed that the minister has indicated the government will not support these amendments, given the spirit in which they have been moved. There is no question that the growth of ice use, particularly in regional communities and, as the minister has said, in Indigenous communities, is having a devastating impact. This is a drug that certainly was not around just a few years ago, and governments have to respond to changes in circumstances. That is why, whether our amendments are carried or not, I indicate that we will support the legislation that is before the House.

But I do note that when the minister addressed the joint parliamentary committee report which preceded the National Ice Taskforce reports in 2011 and 2015 respectively, he spoke about them recommending addressing serious 'and' organised crime. They were the words that he used, because they are the words that are in those reports. They are the words that are in the department's annual report. They are the words that the Australian Crime Commission Amendment (National Policing Information) Bill 2015, that was passed by this parliament, includes. They are the words that the Attorney-General's Department's submission on this bill in the previous parliament talked about. Consistently, they are the words that are appropriate to be used, and not just to widen without any proper consideration the implications of changing from serious 'and' organised crime to serious 'or' organised crime.

We really need to concentrate our efforts if we are going to have a correct impact on it. I would accept the fact that in this chamber the government has a majority to deny the opposition's amendments that I have moved here. But I would say that the minister should ask for advice from the department or from the AFP—or anyone would do—to support the change in this definition. It is my view that part of the reason for there being able to be a bipartisan position on security issues moving forward is that the politicians are not playing politics with these issues but listening to the experts. If the experts came to me and suggested that we were out of step with what they themselves had previously recommended, then that would be worthy of proper and appropriate consideration. But that has not occurred. Every agency, from the department, through the security agencies and through to the National Ice Taskforce and the joint committee have recommended wording that is consistent with what we are putting forward in these amendments. I commend the amendments to the House.