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Making crime pay.



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Media Release

SENATOR THE HON. CHRISTOPHER ELLISON

Minister for Justice and Customs Senator for Western Australia

20 September 2001

Making crime pay

Crime doesn’t pay is the message for criminals following the introduction Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill 2001 in Parliament today, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, said.

"This Bill turns the table on criminals. Instead of profiting from their crimes, it’s now the community’s turn to profit at their expense," Senator Ellison said.

"These important amendments will ensure criminals cannot hide their ill-gotten gains prior to prosecution. Importantly, it’s dirty money that won’t be able to be used to finance future criminal activities."

The Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill 2001 will allow a court to freeze and confiscate assets where the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) can prove to a court on the ‘balance of probabilities’ that a person had engaged in serious criminal activity in the previous six years. No criminal conviction would be required before confiscation could occur.

The new forfeiture laws will apply to suspects engaged in certain serious Commonwealth offences punishable by 3 years jail or more, such as drug trafficking, money laundering, people smuggling and serious property offences.

"The Mr Bigs of crime do not often get their hands dirty with everyday criminal activities but they are always close to their money. The proposed new proceeds of crime Bill will hit criminals where it hurts most, in their hip pocket," Senator Ellison said.

The new regime would operate alongside the existing conviction based confiscation regime.

Senator Ellison said the proposed new laws would also prevent criminals from benefiting from chequebook journalism.

"Tough new provisions have also been introduced to prevent criminals from selling their story, or trading on their notoriety in the media for profit," Senator Ellison said.

"The new provisions will also enable assets and cash shifted off-shore to be retrieved."

Senator Ellison said the Bill had received widespread public support following a five-week consultation period.

"Some 32 submissions were received from a diverse range of law enforcement agencies, commercial organisations, legal groups and members of the public, the vast majority of which were supportive of the new laws," Senator Ellison said.

"I call on the Labor Party to support the Government’s important new tough on crime legislation without delay," Senator Ellison said.

 

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