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Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Page: 2364


Senator McEWEN (South AustraliaGovernment Whip in the Senate) (22:26): In the short time left I would like to add a short contribution to this debate about a very important piece of legislation, the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Powers and Offences) Bill 2012. I note that it is the government's role to see that our courts and our legal system work smoothly. It is the government's view that our law enforcement agencies must have all the tools they need to fight crime, and this bill gives the Commonwealth law enforcement agencies those very tools.

This bill improves upon information sharing between the Australian Crime Commission and other Commonwealth, state and territory agencies, foreign and international agencies and the private sector to enable them all to combat serious and organised crime in Australia. It amends the Criminal Code and the Customs Act to fight the emergence and importation of illicit substances, including through controlling five additional illicit substances. At the same time as fighting crime, the government is establishing strong safeguards and protections for victims and members of the public. For example, the bill increases the availability of interpreter services to people undergoing a DNA procedure.

This bill has been referred to the House of Representative Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs for inquiry and that committee produced an estimable report, a very comprehensive analysis of the legislation before us tonight and well worth consideration by senators. That report was tabled by the committee on 29 February 2012, and amendments were made to the bill in the House as a response to the committee's recommendations. With those few words that I would like to add to the debate tonight, I recommend the bill to the chamber.