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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 7850

Senator ELLISON (Minister for Justice and Customs) (11:04 AM) —For a start, I do not think the parliamentary joint committee made that recommendation—that is one aspect of it. The statement relates to operational matters and goes into some detail. We do not believe that it is appropriate or necessary to go that far in defining offences or breaches for officials. The list I have read out is comprehensive. Certainly, the complaint regime provides that, in the case of a breach of any of those provisions in the statement, a complaint can be founded, that complaint can be dealt with and action can be taken. We believe that, really, you cannot legislate for every possible breach that could occur. We therefore think that it is getting down into the weeds of the operation. It is better to have a complaints mechanism which covers those issues covered by the statement and then on top of that to have the provisions I have mentioned, which are offences. They really are comprehensive. I will not go through them again. Perhaps I could table that list.

Senator Brown —Or incorporate it.

Senator ELLISON —I seek leave to incorporate the list, and table it as well. That means you can have a look at it.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows

One of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on ASIO, ASIS and the DSD's report on the Bill was to include penalties for officials who do not comply with the safeguards in the Bill.

The Government accepted the recommendation and amended the Bill accordingly.

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 2 years imprisonment.

Senator ELLISON —It is contravening a condition or restriction on a warrant, but that is really very wide and that is an offence. When you look at `contravening a direction of the prescribed authority', that again is wide. Failing to treat the subject of a warrant humanely is an offence. That is very wide. I think we have really covered the actions of the officer as much as we can by this offence regime. The statement is another matter and that is appropriately dealt with by a complaint mechanism.