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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 7850


Senator ELLISON (Minister for Justice and Customs) (11:02 AM) —We should remember that if an officer commits an offence that officer is subject to the law. For instance, if an officer assaults someone during the course of questioning then that officer could be charged with assault. The normal laws apply in relation to things such as assaults and threats, notwithstanding the complaint mechanism in this bill.

One of the recommendations of the report on the bill by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on ASIO, ASIS and DSD was to include penalties for officials who did not comply with the safeguards in the bill. In the bill we have included that a person who knowingly contravenes a condition or restriction on a warrant, fails to make arrangements for a person to be brought before a prescribed authority immediately upon being taken into custody, contravenes a direction of the prescribed authority, fails to allow the subject of a warrant to contact someone they are entitled to contact, fails to provide the subject of a warrant with an interpreter if necessary, fails to treat the subject of a warrant humanely, or fails to follow the rules set out for the conduct of strip searches will commit an offence punishable by a maximum of two years imprisonment. We have set out breaches by an official which will attract a penalty. That came about as a result of a recommendation by the parliamentary joint committee, which carried out its inquiry earlier this year.