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Wednesday, 11 December 2002
Page: 7689


Senator GREIG (11:07 AM) —I ask the minister about the practicalities of the processes for those people who might be detained. I can envisage the scenario where a person is detained—and I prefer that term to others—by ASIO, when they should be in the workplace for that day. Under the government's preferred proposal they could be disappeared for seven days. Under the alternative proposal that we are considering such people could be incommunicado for some hours or at least detained for 12 hours for questioning. I anticipate that it would be difficult to explain to one's employer where you were during that period. Potentially, under the amendments that we are looking at, a person would be absent from work for one or two days.

Is it the case that, once released from questioning or detention, you can advise your employer of precisely where you have been and provide evidence of that from ASIO? I anticipate that such a person could be in a workplace where there is a potential for some concern and suspicion and, arising from that, there may be the possibility of harassment and possibly unfair dismissal. What are the opportunities for a citizen who is an employee to explain to their employer why they were detained and where they have been during the period of their detention and questioning? Can the minister acquaint the Senate with the antidiscrimination provisions and industrial relations protections in place to ensure that a person is not the victim of harassment or unfair dismissal?