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Thursday, 8 March 2001
Page: 22819


Senator PATTERSON (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs) (12:54 PM) —I thank Senator Schacht for his contribution. The Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Application of Criminal Code) Bill 2000 is part of the government's program of legislative reform aimed at achieving greater consistency and cohesion in Commonwealth criminal law. It amends offence-creating provisions in the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 and the Defence Service Homes Act 1918 to ensure consistency with the criminal code. The code establishes the general principles of criminal responsibility that will apply to all Commonwealth offences from 15 December 2001. The code may alter the way the offences are interpreted by the courts, and the bill ensures that, when the code commences, the criminal offence provisions in the acts will continue to operate in the same manner as they operated previously. If these amendments were not made, then the criminal code could alter the way the criminal offence provisions currently operate. I commend the bill to the Senate.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.

Sitting suspended from 12.56 p.m. to 2.00 p.m.