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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 749


Mr CHESTER (GippslandMinister for Infrastructure and Transport) (15:50): With that, we should not delay the House unduly. The government strongly believes that the bill, as it is presented to the House, is meeting the intention of the reports that the member for Grayndler referred to previously. The legal advice that we have received is that using the term 'and' could be interpreted as requiring both elements to be proved—that is, both elements of being serious 'and' organised as distinct from being serious 'or' organised.

Again, I acknowledge the spirit in which the member for Grayndler has approached this issue, but simply disagree on the best way forward with the legislation. Serious and organised crime, I acknowledge, is certainly a term in common usage—probably in many ways it is a colloquial term, used quite widely. But the fear within the government is that use of the word, 'and', as I said, would require a legal interpretation of meeting both elements of being serious and organised as distinct from serious or organised.

Certainly, in preparation of the bill for the House, the Australian Federal Police were consulted and accepted the use of the term 'or'. The government will not be supporting the member's amendment.