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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 749


Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (15:51): I will not delay the House for too much longer before we vote on this. I will simply point out two things.

Now, firstly, I appreciate the fact that the minister has outlined, for the first time, some rationale for the government being fairly intransigent on this issue. But the problem I have with that and with the explanation he has just given is that the Australian Crime Commission Amendment (National Policing Information) Bill 2015, which passed the parliament last year, refers, with Labor's support, to 'serious and organised' crime. It defies logic that, somehow, this has arisen in circumstances that legislation was carried. That is legislation that is relevant to national security concerns and, in particular, specifically addresses the Australian Crime Commission and its operations. It seems to me that if this legislation is carried as it currently reads—being put forward by the government—it will put it out of step with the other legislation.

Frankly, people will read that, and there is an opportunity where legislation is inconsistent, particularly legislation that has an impact on prosecution of criminal activity—for people to point towards those inconsistencies between the two pieces of legislation. I expect what we will see before this parliament, which should have happened before now, is that if they are going to change the definition then amend the Australian Crime Commission legislation that has been carried by this House—it will be in need of amendment in order to bring it into consistency with this definition.

Secondly, what has to happen as well, with this, is for draft regulations to apply to this legislation, and the regulations to specify relevant offences that would be deemed to rule out people being eligible for ASIC or MSIC cards. I would have thought that the revised definition we are proposing here—going back to a definition that is consistent with legislation that has previously been adopted in this parliament—would be more appropriate. If the government has any concerns about any specifics, then the appropriate way is to address it in those regulations.

I know from experience that determining what is included in those regulations to be a relevant offence is something that could be the subject of considerable debate and making sure it is got right. But, at all times, it has to be focused on terrorism or very serious organised crime activity. It cannot be such that people who have committed minor infringements get caught up in this. What that will do is undermine the purpose of the legislation.

The SPEAKER: The question is that the amendments be agreed to.