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Wednesday, 11 December 2002
Page: 7703


Senator ELLISON (Minister for Justice and Customs) (12:23 PM) —I move government amendment (14) on sheet DT377:

(14) Schedule 1, item 24, page 14 (after line 11), after subsection 34E(2), insert:

(2A) The prescribed authority before whom the person appears for questioning must inform the person of the role of the prescribed authority, and the reason for the presence of each other person who is present at any time during the questioning. However:

(a) the prescribed authority must not name any person except with the consent of the person to be named; and

(b) the obligation to inform the person being questioned about a particular person's reason for presence need only be complied with once (even if that particular person subsequently returns to the questioning).

This implements recommendation 16 of the Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee's report. The effect of this amendment is that the prescribed authority must inform a person appearing before it of the role of every person during the course of questioning. Clearly, in some circumstances it would not be appropriate to identify some of those present at the questioning. For this reason, the amendment makes it clear that the prescribed authority must not disclose the name of a person when providing information about their role unless that person has consented to be named. To give an example, if you had someone there from the Australian Federal Police and someone from ASIO, you would say to the person, `This gentleman is from ASIO. This lady is from the AFP,' but you would not go so far as to say what their names were, for operational reasons. Certainly, we believe that this is a worthwhile amendment. Recommendation 16 stated:

The Committee recommends that the Prescribed Authority be required to inform the person being questioned of the function of all parties who are present during questioning.

That recommendation went so far as to say that you should not identify the person—that is, their name—but simply identify their function.