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Monday, 18 November 2002
Page: 6661

Senator DENMAN (9:48 PM) —I rise to make some comments on the Australian Crime Commission Establishment Bill 2002. The Labor Party is supporting this bill, subject to amendments. The Australian Crime Commission Establishment Bill 2002 proposes to combine the National Crime Authority, the Office of Strategic Crime Assessments and the Australian Bureau of Criminal Investigation into a new agency, the Australian Crime Commission. This new agency will have the added responsibility of maintaining a database of intelligence information and undertaking criminal intelligence work. It will have governance arrangements and powers quite unlike the former agency, which I will speak about later.

On 26 September 2002, in his second reading speech on this bill, Mr Daryl Williams, the Attorney-General, described the reasoning for this legislation as the need to `constitute an enhanced national framework for dealing with terrorism and transnational crime'. The decision on this gained unanimous agreement from the premiers of the states and the chief ministers of the territories at the summit on 5 April convened by the Prime Minister. Following this, it was agreed that the National Crime Authority would be replaced by the Australian Crime Commission. A single, clear rationale for why the National Crime Authority, an agency that has always been acknowledged by both coalition and Labor governments for its good work, has suddenly become redundant is yet to emerge.

Debate interrupted.