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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 7839

Senator NETTLE (10:15 AM) —I recognise that it is a difficult question for the opposition to answer on this issue because, whilst they have stipulated the time frames in which questioning must take place, it has not been proposed to put a time limit on the activities extraneous to questioning. Senator Faulkner talked before about the very substantial down times that would be part of the questioning and detention regime, so I recognise that it is a difficult question to answer. In practicality, in the way in which this legislation is implemented, we do not know about that. Clearly, there will be a capacity for people to be held for more than a day. This down time involving sleep and rest potentially takes it to an additional day. We could be looking at twice the number of hours that the opposition is proposing for a questioning regime when we incorporate questioning and detention. That brings us closer to the 48 hours in the original bill for questioning to take place. I recognise that it is a difficult question for the opposition to answer.

I also recognise that the model they are proposing is based on the Crimes Act. The clear distinction that we need to continue to make is that the Crimes Act does not involve the detention of nonsuspects, which is the additional component of this legislation. It is an expansion into an area that we have not been into before. We previously heard Senator Faulkner talk about what he believes to be the similarity between the model being proposed by the opposition and that which exists within the Australian Crime Commission and the former National Crime Authority. It is important to point out the differences between those models. In the procedures of the Australian Crime Commission and the National Crime Authority a summons is issued for people to appear before those bodies and then subsequently, if they fail to appear, a warrant is issued and they can be taken into custody and brought before those bodies. That is a different regime from what is proposed in this legislation, which goes straight to bringing people into custody rather than having any process of a summons being issued and then being called before those bodies; it goes straight to the warrant and bringing them into custody. I think it is important that people are aware of the distinction between the model being put forward by the opposition and the existing model in the Australian Crime Commission, and that the questioning and detention regime being put forward by the opposition is exactly that— questioning and detention—and that we do not have a clear time frame as to how long both of those activities, once combined, will last.