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Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Page: 6060

Senator LUDWIG (QueenslandMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Minister Assisting on Queensland Floods Recovery) (12:06): I will not canvass the issues that Senator Brandis argued; I think they are correct and they are the reason the government also does not support the amendments moved by Senator Ludlam. In addition, I would add for the record that the AFP does have guidelines in place to govern the assistance provided to international law enforcement agencies where possible death penalty implications arise. The AFP's practical guidelines on international police-to-police assistance in potential death penalty situations ensure there is an accountable process for the AFP to use when considering authorising the provision of police-to-police assistance to foreign countries. They are publicly available; I am sure you have them at your disposal.

The guidelines expressly require senior AFP management to consider prescribed factors before providing assistance in matters which raise a death penalty implication and each request is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to this could I also add, in unison with Senator Brandis, that restricting or refusing to provide information has the potential to undermine the existing cooperative environment that relies on reciprocity in assistance. It may result in some countries electing to discontinue their bilateral arrangements with the AFP. This would severely restrict Australia's ability to continue to deliver effective transnational law enforcement; it would undermine what this legislation seeks to put in place.

Question negatived.