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JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE AUSTRALIAN CRIME COMMISSION
06/11/2008
Legislative arrangements to outlaw serious and organised crime groups
JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE AUSTRALIAN CRIME COMMISSION
Joint committee
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Legislative arrangements to outlaw serious and organised crime groups
Final

CHAIR (Senator Hutchins) —I declare open this public hearing of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Crime Commission. This is the sixth hearing for the committee’s inquiry into the legislative arrangements to outlaw serious and organised crime. The terms of reference are on the committee’s website. The committee has held hearings in Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, Hobart and Melbourne earlier this year and will be holding a hearing in Brisbane tomorrow. The committee’s proceedings today will follow the program which has been circulated.

I remind all witnesses that in giving evidence to the committee they 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 a committee. The committee prefers all evidence to be given in public, but under the Senate’s resolutions witnesses have the right to request to be heard in private session. It is important that witnesses give the committee notice if they intend to ask to give evidence in camera. If a witness objects to answering a question, the witness should state the ground upon which the objection is taken, and the committee will determine whether it will insist on an answer, having regard to the ground which is claimed. If the committee determines to insist on an answer, a witness may request that the answer be given in camera. Such a request may of course also be made at any other time.

Before I welcome our first witnesses, I remind members of the committee that the Senate has resolved that government officials should not be asked to give opinions on matters of policy and should be given a reasonable opportunity to refer questions asked of them to a superior officer or to a minister if that is appropriate. This resolution does not include questions asking for explanations of policy or factual questions about when or how policies were adopted.

[8.33 am]