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Wednesday, 13 November 2002
Page: 6241


Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Manager of Government Business in the Senate) (3:34 PM) —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

That the provisions of paragraphs (5) to (7) of standing order 111 not apply to the following bills, allowing them to be considered during this period of sittings:

Criminal Code Amendment (Offences Against Australians) Bill 2002

Telecommunications Competition Bill 2002

Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2002.

I also table statements of reasons justifying the need for these bills to be considered during these sittings and seek leave to have the statements incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statements read as follows—

Criminal Code Amendment (Offences Against Australians) Bill 2002

Purpose of the Bill

The Criminal Code Amendment (Offences Against Australians) Bill will create new provisions making it an offence to murder, commit manslaughter or intentionally or recklessly cause serious harm to an Australian where that conduct occurs outside of Australia.

The new offences will provide coverage for overseas attacks on Australian citizens and residents (such as those which occurred in Bali) where it is appropriate that the perpetrators of those attacks be prosecuted in Australia, and where such persons are unable to be prosecuted under the terrorism legislation.

For example, to extradite a suspected offender from a foreign country there must be `dual criminality'—that is, the conduct must be the basis of an offence in both Australia and the other country. If a suspect is located in a country which does not have terrorism offences, then it may be very difficult to establish `dual criminality'.

Further, there may be difficulty with the political motivation aspect of the Australian terrorism offences. For example, there may be insufficient evidence of that aspect to successfully prosecute the person. Or if the suspect is to be extradited, he or she may be located in a country which does not have the `political motivation' aspect in its relevant terrorism offence.

`Murder' and other serious offences against the person are universally recognised, which should provide a sound basis for extradition and prosecution of suspects in circumstances where the terrorism offences are not appropriate.

There is a need to have the offences apply retrospectively to enable the prosecution of those involved in the bombings in Bali on 12 October 2002. Whilst retrospective offences are generally not appropriate, retrospective application is justifiable in these circumstances because it is universally known that the conduct which will be the subject of the proposed offences is criminal in nature. The proposed offences will apply retrospectively from 1 October 2002.

Reasons for Urgency

The amendments to the Criminal Code Act 1995 need to be in place as soon as possible to enable charges to be brought under the new provisions, and any extradition proceedings commenced, if appropriate.

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Justice and Customs)

—————

TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPETITION BILL 2002

Purpose of the Bill

The Bill will implement the government's response to the Productivity Commission report into telecommunications competition regulation.

Reasons for Urgency

Given that the report was publicly released on 22 December 2001, and the government announced its response on 24 April 2002, passage by 1 January 2003 is necessary in order to meet reasonable industry expectations and provide certainty to the industry.

The new legislation should be in place as soon as possible in order to provide a solid basis for the facilitation of investment within the industry.

It is understood that a number of industry participants are delaying business decisions in anticipation of regulatory change.

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts)

—————

BROADCASTING LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (No. 2) 2002

Purpose of the Bill

This Bill is intended to (a) provide a permanent regulatory framework for the community television sector which currently operates under open narrowcasting licences, (b) provide the Australian Broadcasting Authority with more discretion to review community broadcasting licences when deciding whether to renew them, and (c) repeal spent remaining provisions of the Broadcasting Act 1942.

Reasons for Urgency

The community television sector has operated on a trial basis since 1994. The trial is due to cease on 31 December 2002. Passage of a permanent framework for the sector prior to that date is required to provide certainty and a basis for ongoing operation for the sector.

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts)