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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 7847


Senator ELLISON (Minister for Justice and Customs) (10:47 AM) —Whilst we are obtaining those provisions, can I say that the government opposes opposition amendments (4) to (7). Amendment (4) would remove the references to the prescribed authority's ability to order that a person who fails to appear before it should be taken into custody and detained. We do not support the opposition's amendment in relation to the prescribed authority's powers. The government's position is that the prescribed authority should be able to order that a person is detained if, for example, they have failed to attend for questioning at the time specified in the warrant. Amendment (5) would have the effect of restricting the time for the execution of all warrants to between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. This is unacceptable. Warrants issued under the bill are to be exercised immediately. They will, of their very nature, be critical, and we believe that immediacy is essential.

The government's amendments provide that, firstly, an order issued by a prescribed authority because a person has not appeared must only be executed between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. unless there is no other way to take the person into custody. This is a different process from the warrant process. Secondly, warrants issued by an issuing authority for a person to be detained from the outset may be executed at any time. This is because these warrants are issued when it is necessary to take a person into custody and detain them immediately. To impose a time restriction on the exercise of these warrants would defeat their purpose. They are designed to be warrants of last resort and of course would be used in a circumstance when time is critical. I think we can really take it no further than that.

In relation to the Crimes Act provisions, what I said earlier was that we were making the powers clear—and I answered Senator Faulkner's question on that—and that we were transposing the police powers exercised under the Crimes Act to the ASIO bill and that there was no extension of those powers. What you have to remember is that the regime under the ASIO bill is different from that under the Crimes Act, and the time for questioning is different. Of course those differences are understood, but the transposing of police powers from the Crimes Act to the ASIO bill is not extended. The provisions of the Crimes Act that we are talking about are 3ZB and 3ZC; 3ZB is `Power to enter premises to arrest offender' and 3ZC is `Use of force in making arrest'. They would be rather lengthy to read out here. I will table a copy of those provisions for Senator Nettle.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Cook)—The question is that opposition amendments (4) to (7) on sheet 2787 be agreed to.

Question agreed to.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —The question now is that government amendment (21) on sheet DT377, as amended, be agreed to.

Original question, as amended, agreed to.