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Electronic Transactions Bill 1999

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1998-1999

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

ELECTRONIC TRANSACTIONS BILL 1999

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

Amendments and New Clauses to be Moved on Behalf of the Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Attorney-General,

the Hon. Daryl Williams, AM QC MP)

 



ELECTRONIC TRANSACTIONS BILL 1999

 

 

OUTLINE

 

1.       The amendments create further limited exceptions to the operation of clause 11 of the Bill with respect to a range of visa and citizenship decisions and other actions under migration and citizenship legislation. Visa and citizenship decisions are different to most other kinds of decisions because a benefit that is procured by fraud cannot easily be recovered by subsequent legal action: for example, it is difficult and costly to the taxpayer to reverse the effect of a decision that grants Australian citizenship or permanent residence.

 

2.       The high risk of document fraud in visa and citizenship decisions means that there should be no doubt that the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs continues to be entitled to require persons to produce original documents (or acceptable copies) where it is appropriate to do so. The amendments do not prevent the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs from accepting electronic communications where there is no suspicion of fraud.

 

 

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

3.       Costs associated with the collection and use of paper documentation in most migration and citizenship cases will be unchanged. Some potential savings from the use of electronic documents will not be realised, but this is expected to be more than offset by the earlier detection of fraud that is possible by using original documents in migration and citizenship cases.

 



ELECTRONIC TRANSACTIONS BILL 1999

 

NOTES ON INDIVIDUAL CLAUSES

 

Clause 1

 

1.       Clause 11 of the Electronic Transactions Bill creates a general rule authorising the giving of documents in electronic format. Existing subclause 11(5) is an exception to this rule that permits the Commonwealth to require the production of paper documents when considering visa and citizenship applications.

 

2.       The amendment omits existing subclause 11(5) and substitutes a broader set of exemptions to the operation of clause 11. These exemptions are specified in new Schedule 1 to the Bill.

 

Clause 2

 

3.       Item 1 exempts the specified migration activities and provisions of migration law from the operation of clause 11 of the Bill. Subitem (3) defines “migration law” to mean the Migration Act 1958 and any regulations made under that Act.

 

4.       Activities where a person may be required to produce the original version of a document (or an acceptable paper copy) include:

•            all aspects of the visa application and decision-making process, whether or not a visa application results in a decision to grant or to refuse a visa;

•            all aspects of a sponsorship or nomination that is made in support of visa applications (Parts 1.4, 1.4A and 1.4B of Part 1 of the Migration Regulations);

•            the determination of whether a person is an unlawful non-citizen (that is, a person who is not the holder of a current visa) and the removal of an unlawful non-citizen from Australia (Division 8 of Part 2 of the Migration Act);

•            the determination of whether a person is seeking, or is reasonably suspected of seeking, to enter Australia unlawfully;

•            all aspects of the visa cancellation process, including the consideration of whether the discretion to cancel should be exercised;

•            the decision to deport a person from Australia and the deportation process;

•            immigration clearance at airports and ports, during which Australian citizens are required to show proof of citizenship and non-citizens are required to prove that they hold a current visa (Division 5 of Part 2 of the Migration Act);

•            obtaining information about persons who are suspected of being unlawful non-citizens (Division 2 of Part 2 of the Migration Act);

•            production of identity documents by the masters and crews of vessels (Division 11 of Part 2 of the Migration Act).

 

5.       Item 2 exempts the specified citizenship activities and provisions of citizenship law from the operation of clause 11 of the Bill. Subitem (3) defines “citizenship law” to mean the Australian Citizenship Act 1958 and any regulations made under that Act.

 

6.       Activities where a person may be required to produce an original version of a document (or an acceptable paper copy) include:

•            ascertaining whether a person is or continues to be an Australian citizen;

•            any registration activity related to Australian citizenship;

•            the renunciation or deprivation of Australian citizenship;

•            all activities concerned with the keeping and maintaining the integrity of a register of Australian citizens, and the provision and recovery of extracts from such a register;

•            all activities involving the various types of certificates recording Australian citizenship. Currently there are three kinds of certificate, namely the certificate of Australian citizenship (which is given to new citizens as part of the process by which Australian citizenship is granted), the evidentiary certificate of Australian citizenship, and the declaratory certificate of Australian citizenship. Relevant activities with respect to certificates include the application for a certificate, the grant or issue of a certificate, the cancellation, revocation, amendment, replacement or surrender of an existing certificate, and adding the name of a child to a certificate.

 

7.       Item 3 ensures that new Schedule 1 cannot be interpreted as limiting the exemptions that are set out in clause 13 of the Bill.

•            New Schedule 1 deals with specific exemptions to clause 11 (production of documents).

•            Existing clause 13 deals with general exemptions and the power to make regulations to exempt any specified requirements, permissions and laws.



Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum

for Government-sponsored amendments to the Electronic Transactions Bill 1999

 

file = G:\_rfa\_current\_99106…\ ET Bill amendments supp explan memo v2.doc

 

last saved = 21/09/1999 2:08:00 PM