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Labor will introduce new anti-hoax laws.

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Robert McClelland - Labor Will Introduce New Anti-Hoax Laws Wednesday, 17 October 2001

ALP News Statements

Labor Will Introduce New Anti-Hoax Laws Robert McClelland - Shadow Attorney-General

Media Statement - 16 October 2001

Labor welcomes the Coalition Government's announcement today that it will support new laws to penalise people who send hoax material through the post.

Consistent with the package of national security measures already announced by Kim Beazley, a Labor Government will introduce new laws to increase penalties for those people who prey on insecurity by sending hoax material through the post or by other means.

The Crimes Act already provides for sentences of up to five years for those people who send anything by post with the intention of inducing a false belief that the article contains a dangerous substance.

Labor will introduce new laws to ensure that people who create fear of an explosion or a chemical, biological or radiological threat by mail, courier or by other method of delivery are punishable by a sentence of up to ten years.

There are many things that can be done and must be done to improve security.

On 6 October 2001, Kim Beazley announced Labor's $97.6 million strategy to improve national security, and specific measures to tighten domestic legislation including:

the introduction of comprehensive legislation to give more effective capacity to security and law enforcement agencies to deal with threats of terrorism; ●

a range of offences specifically related to terrorism, including life sentences for the most serious terrorist offences; ●

powers to allow our law enforcement agencies to detain suspected terrorists for periods of up to 48 hours under judicial warrants, with arrangements to ensure questioning of suspected terrorists; ●

the strengthening of prohibitions against activities relating to the acquisition or development of nuclear, chemical, biological or radiological weapons; ●

amendments to the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1994 to impose increased sentences of up to 25 years imprisonment for persons who supply materials or otherwise ●

assist activities they reasonably suspect relate to the development of weapons of mass destruction; and enhanced powers for law enforcement agencies to search premises and seize materials or things reasonably suspected to provide evidence of preparations to commit an act of mass destruction. ●

Responsibility for Labor's new anti-hoax and anti-terrorist laws will rest with the Ministry for Home Affairs.

The Home Affairs ministry will provide a powerful and coordinated focal point for strengthening Australia's national security and fighting global terrorism. It will guarantee enhanced coordination between Commonwealth law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies, and between civil authorities and the Defence Organisation.

The Home Affairs ministry will be the most powerful and focussed peacetime ministerial arrangement for co-ordinating Australia's domestic security in our history. Its time has come and the times demand it.

Australians must have confidence that they can go about their daily lives free from terrorist threats.

Kim Beazley and Labor are committed to a comprehensive plan to restore security.

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.