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Thursday, 24 March 1994
Page: 2198


Senator PANIZZA (1.30 p.m.) —The government amendments are being taken as a whole. Amendment No. 3, which would follow subsection 22(1), provides that if a ship is detained under that section the person authorised to detain it may escort it to a port in Australia. I ask the government what its intention is in this case. As has already been pointed out, this legislation allows for the holding of a foreign ship in an Australian port if it is suspected of polluting the water in the port or within Australian confines.

  Under the proposed amendment, a ship which is being detained at sea that has already sailed can be escorted back to an Australian port, but not necessarily to the port from which it left. That is not quite definite; it says `an Australian port'. I presume that it could be to any port in Australia, not necessarily the one that it sailed from. I ask the minister—surely he can tell me—whether it is correct that if a foreign ship is willing to post a bond when it is intercepted it could be allowed to carry on rather than having to come back to an Australian port.