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Wednesday, 6 June 1984
Page: 2661


Senator MACKLIN(6.24) —I move:

Page 19, after clause 25, insert the following new clause:

Warrant for arrest of witness

'25A. (1) Where, upon application by or on behalf of the Authority, a judge of the Federal Court sitting in chambers is satisfied by evidence on oath that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person who has been ordered, under section 20, to deliver his passport to the Authority, whether or not he has complied with the order, is nevertheless likely to leave Australia for the purpose of avoiding giving evidence before the Commission, the judge may issue a warrant for the apprehension of the person.

(2) The warrant may be executed by any member of the Australian Federal Police or of the police force of a State or Territory, or by any person to whom it is addressed, and the person executing it has power to break and enter any place, building or vessel for the purpose of executing it.

(3) Where a person is apprehended in pursuance of a warrant under this section, he shall be brought, as soon as practicable, before a judge of the Federal Court and the judge may-

(a) admit the person to bail, with such security as the judge thinks fit, on such conditions as he thinks necessary to ensure the appearance of the person as a witness before the Authority;

(b) order the continued detention of the person for the purpose of ensuring his appearance as such a witness; or

(c) order the release of the person.

(4) Where a person is under detention in pursuance of this section, he shall, within 14 days after he was brought, or last brought, before a judge of the Federal Court in accordance with this section, or within such shorter or longer time as a judge has fixed upon the last previous appearance of the person before a judge under this section, be again brought before a judge and the judge may thereupon exercise any of the powers of a judge under sub-section (3).'

Essentially this amendment seeks to insert new clause 25A in line with recommendation 31 of the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs. This amendment would enable the National Crime Authority to apply to the Federal Court for a warrant of arrest when an order to deliver a passport is considered unlikely to stop a person from leaving Australia. I do not think that the reasons for the amendment need to be put in any great detail. I think the honourable senators are well aware that people have enormous capacities to leave this country even if their passports have ben confiscated. Regular visitors from overseas are able to come to Queensland without passports so I do not see why they would have any difficulty getting back out of that State.

The major problem with which we were again confronted, of course, was the civil liberties objections which we sought to me by sub-clause (3) of proposed new clause 25A. We have sought to ensure that a person under detention is brought before a judge at 14-day intervals; the judge may admit the person to bail with such securities as he thinks fit, he may order the continued detention of the person for the purpose of ensuring his appearance; or he may order the release of the person. We believe that there should be a continual overview by the courts of this power which we admit goes further than probably a lot of people would like. Nevertheless, we believe that this power may be necessary if we are to deal with the types of people and the capacity that people have in this area.