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No restrictions on AFP in international fight against paedophiles.



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Media Release

SENATOR THE HON. CHRISTOPHER ELLISON

Minister for Justice and Customs

Manager of Government Business in the Senate Senator for Western Australia

E054/05 20 April 2005

No restrictions on AFP in international fight against paedophiles

Australian laws do not prevent the Australian Federal Police from providing intelligence information to foreign law enforcement agencies as part of the international fight against paedophile activity, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, confirmed today.

Senator Ellison said the central premise of a report which appeared in the Australian media today is completely untrue.

“The AFP has advised me that they have not been restricted in their capacity to pass information on suspected or actual paedophile activity to our law enforcement partners,” he said.

“Let me be perfectly clear, as the AFP Commissioner himself stated today, the AFP can, does and will continue to pass information on paedophilia to its law enforcement partners.”

Senator Ellison said that law enforcement authorities were fully aware of their obligations under Australia’s privacy laws.

“The Government has proposed amendments to the Australian Federal Police Act simply to clarify and confirm the law in this area. They will not give the AFP powers they do not currently have to work to combat paedophilia,” he explained.

“The AFP’s functions include enforcing the laws of the Commonwealth and safeguarding its interest.

“It also has a general power to do things that are incidental or conducive to its specific functions and this gives the AFP power to operate as part of the international law enforcement community.

“It is a crime against Australian law for an Australian to travel overseas to have sex with children and sharing information with foreign law enforcement authorities can prevent these crimes from being committed.

“This government will not apologise for doing whatever is necessary to protect children, whichever country they might live in,” Senator Ellison said.

Media inquiries: Brad Burke (02) 6277 7260/(0417) 749 711

http://www.ag.gov.au/www/justiceministerHome.nsf