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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 7877

Senator ALLISON (1:18 PM) —I seek leave to incorporate a speech on the Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill 2002.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

The Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 amends 2 acts and repeals 1:

The bill introduces an objects clause in the Air Services Commission Act which promotes economic efficiency through competition and provides for the delegation of the Commission's powers and functions.

The amendments to the Air Navigation Act 1920 define an aviation industry participant, and creates an offence for the carriage of munitions on an aircraft, and permit the secretary to require aviation security information from industry participants.

Under 22ZVA(2) the Secretary may require by written notice that an aviation industry participant provide aviation security information to the Secretary. The Secretary must have reasonable grounds for requesting the information (22ZVA(1)). If the person fails to provide the information, or fails to provide it within the time required, the person faces a fine upon conviction (22ZVA(4)).

Section 22ZVB provides that an individual is not excused from giving aviation security information on the grounds of self-incrimination.

Section 22ZVC protects both information and the person providing the information from disclosure under subsequent sections. Information given in the course of an investigation under this Act (unless it is in compliance with a notice given under 22ZVA) is not protected. The Act provides for investigation of accidents and serious incidents. Section 22ZVD and ZVE restrict the disclosure of protected information.

Section 22ZVFG ensures that protected information cannot be admitted in evidence in a criminal proceeding except under section 137.1 or 137.2 of the Criminal Code (provision of false or misleading evidence).

The Democrats support this legislation but with reservations.

On the one hand, it purports to encourage employees in the aviation industry with information relevant to aviation security to come forward in a no-regrets context and give information to the Secretary or his/her delegate. The bill provides some protection for the information, particularly in relation to the use of the information in criminal or civil proceedings. On the other hand, the bill is punitive—and advice from the department indicates that the bill can be used to extract information from employees in order to ascertain and if necessary correct systemic security problems in the aviation industry.

We are not entirely convinced that the Government is clear about what it wants to accomplish and how but we note that security provisions will be the subject of a review in the not too distant future.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.