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Tuesday, 10 December 2002
Page: 7610


Senator ELLISON (Minister for Justice and Customs) (8:09 PM) —by leave—I move government amendments (1) and (22) on sheet DT377:

(1) Schedule 1, page 6 (after line 18), after item 23, insert:

23A After section 25

Insert:

25AA Conduct of ordinary or frisk search under search warrant

An ordinary search or frisk search of a person that is authorised under paragraph 25(4A)(a) must, if practicable, be conducted by a person of the same sex as the person being searched.

(22) Schedule 1, item 24, page 20 (after line 25), after subsection 34L(1), insert:

(1A) An ordinary search of the person under this section must, if practicable, be conducted by a police officer of the same sex as the person being searched.

Government amendment (1) implements recommendation No. 21 of the Legal and Constitutional References Committee's report. The amendment clarifies that an ordinary or frisk search of a person near or at premises that are the subject of a warrant granted to ASIO must, if practicable, be conducted by a person of the same sex as the person being searched. Government amendment (22) clarifies that an ordinary search of a person detained under a warrant must, if practicable, be conducted by a person of the same sex as the person being searched.

These provisions mirror the standard search procedures contained in the Crimes Act. The government has always intended the conduct of ordinary and frisk searches under the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Bill 2002 to be consistent with accepted standards for such searches. The inclusion of these two provisions in the bill will make it clear in the legislation that this is the case. I reiterate that this follows recommendation No. 21 of the committee, which stated:

The Committee recommends that the Bill should include a requirement that ordinary searches and frisk searches, as far as practicable, should be conducted by an officer of the same gender as the person being searched.

I reiterate that the government have always been open to constructive suggestions, and we have taken those up from the various parliamentary committee inquiries. But we stress that we cannot take on board amendments which will make this bill unworkable. In this case, the recommendation by the Legal and Constitutional References Committee is a reasonable one and we reflect it in these amendments.