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Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Page: 6477

Mr WOOD (7:02 PM) —Attorney-General, I refer to my earlier questions about the air marshal program. I thank you for answering the majority of those questions. The concern I have is that I have been informed that a number of air marshals who, on paper, are supposed to be undertaking air marshal duties, have actually been performing other sorts of duties. If you cannot answer the question tonight, could you take it on notice and assure the House that we are actually having air marshals performing air marshal roles, rather than other duties?

Secondly, regarding the Australian Crime Commission, it appears to me that it has dropped its investigative arm almost completely. Is this something which the government is intending—to have the ACC focus on intelligence only, with very little investigation? There is a reason I ask this. You will be aware that, under the Australian Crime Commission Act, the employees do not have the power to arrest anyone nor do they have the power to carry firearms. The only members who do are those seconded from the states, territories or the Australian Federal Police. As you will be aware, the majority of those seconded members have been severely cut back. I believe there are only 20 members there on secondment. Therefore, the ACC’s investigative capacity has been nearly completely lost.

The other great concern I have is the full-time staff members at the ACC. In last year’s budget they were cut by 15 per cent and again, this year, by 7 per cent, reaffirming my belief that the ACC is going down the path of intelligence only. The reason is that they do not have the investigators there in the first place because they have been sent back home. Could you answer those questions? I will leave it at that.