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Wednesday, 24 August 1994
Page: 193


Senator SPINDLER (11.58 a.m.) —by leave—I move:

6.After clause 15, page 13, insert the following new clause:

Rights of debtors, children and spouses

  "15A.Without affecting section 15:

    (a)where the Commissioner is served with any process under section 8A of the Service and Execution of Process Act 1992 he or she must take all reasonable steps to ensure compliance with any order or judgement in relation to that process; and

    (b)the Commissioner must take all reasonable steps to ensure that where a person who becomes a participant has entered into any arrangement under any law, for the maintenance of a child, spouse or former spouse, that arrangement is complied with while the person is a participant.".

10.Schedule, page 22, after proposed amendments to the Australian Federal Police Act 1979, insert the following amendments:

"Family Law Act 1975

  "After subsection 38(3):

  Add:

  "(4)Without otherwise affecting this section, where a person to be served with any process under this Act, in relation to the maintenance of a child or a party to a marriage, is a participant under the Witness Protection Act 1994, service of that process may be on the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.".

11.Schedule, page 22, after proposed amendment to the Marriage Act 1961, insert the following amendments:

"Ombudsman Act 1976

"Paragraph 5(1)(b):

"After `by a Department', insert: `, by the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police in relation to the National Witness Protection Program established by the Witness Protection Act 1994,'.".

"Service and Execution of Process Act 1992

  "After section 8:

Insert:

  "Service on protected witnesses

"8A.  Where a person is to be served with any process to which this Act applies in relation to a debt or the maintenance of a child, spouse or former spouse, and the person is a participant under the Witness Protection Act 1994, service of that process may be on the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.".

As I said during the second reading debate, the Australian Democrats are concerned that the bill makes inadequate provision for the commissioner to ensure that people who are placed under a witness protection program can make suitable arrangements—and enforce suitable arrangements—to meet their financial commitments and, if they cannot, that creditors and others are given an avenue where this can be done.

  We believe that is an important aspect, seeing that there is evidence that some people seek to avoid some of their financial obligations by applying to be placed under the witness protection program.