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Ensuring public confidence in the criminal justice system.

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Media Release


Minister for Justice and Customs

Manager of Government Business in the

Senate Senator for Western Australia

E07/06 23 February 2006

Ensuring public confidence in the criminal justice system

A review is to be conducted of the Commonwealth criminal justice system to ensure penalties are effective deterrents for would-be criminals, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, said today.

Announcing the Terms of Reference for the Review of Criminal Penalties in Commonwealth Legislation, Senator Ellison said that the Government was meeting its election commitment to ensure criminal penalty levels reflect community standards.

“While a great deal of community concern relates to State and Territory offences, it is important to the community that Commonwealth criminal penalties are consistent and adequate,” Senator Ellison said.

“The effective operation of Commonwealth offences in areas such as fraud, drug-related crime, money laundering, terrorism and people smuggling is critical in providing important safeguards for the Australian community.

“A review is also timely given the increasing importance of Commonwealth criminal offences in protecting the Australian community.

“In addition, there is a need to re-assess the adequacy of penalties for corporations as well as individuals.”

Senator Ellison said the review will seek expert advice from law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and criminal law advisers as well as public bodies representing defendants, victims and law reform groups.

The next stage of the review will be the release of an Issues Paper.

“The Government is committed to refining and improving the Commonwealth criminal justice system and looks forward to public comment on the Issues Paper. The Government is keen to hear the views of members of the public, as well as the experts, on these issues,” Senator Ellison said.

Additional information on the review and the Government’s consultation process can be found at:

Further information: Carly Phillips (02) 6277 7260/ 0400 512 696