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LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS LEGISLATION COMMITTEE
09/03/2010
Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2010
LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS LEGISLATION COMMITTEE
Senate committee
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2010
Final

CHAIR (Senator Crossin) —I declare open this hearing of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee and our inquiry into the Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2010. The inquiry was referred to the committee by the Senate on 4 February 2010 for inquiry and report by 30 June 2010. The bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code Act 1995 to make it a criminal offence for a person over 18 years of age to intentionally misrepresent their age in communications with a person they reasonably believe is under 18 years of age. The committee has received eight submissions for this inquiry. All submissions have been authorised for publication and will be available on the committee’s website.

I remind witnesses that in giving evidence to the committee you are protected by parliamentary privilege. It is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of evidence given to a committee, and such action may be treated by the Senate as a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to the committee. We prefer that all evidence be given in public, but under the Senate’s resolutions witnesses of course have the right to request to be heard in private session. To do so you would need to indicate to us that you wish to give your evidence in camera.

This afternoon we are also holding a public hearing into the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Offences Against Children) Bill 2010. We have made a decision to try and do these hearings back-to-back because we believe there are some matters that can be dealt with in a very similar way, and also it will save some of the witnesses we have appearing before us, in particular the Attorney-General’s Department and the Australian Federal Police, from coming back on a separate day.

 [4.10 pm]