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Wednesday, 1 December 2004
Page: 7


Senator ELLISON (Minister for Justice and Customs) (9:52 AM) —I have already gone over the reasons that we have these provisions in this bill—and that is to provide certainty. It avoids the court being embroiled in decisions on aspects of international relations—very sensitive aspects of international relations. It gives some certainty at the outset as to what may or may not be included. But getting back to the AAT, we think that in the circumstances where you are dealing with national security you have to have a check and balance. We think there is sufficient balance in the fact that the member of the AAT has that information and can quiz ASIO on it. The ASIO assessment is not something you bandy around. We think that in the circumstances to restrict it to the AAT member is appropriate. That AAT member can ask questions of ASIO and can look into it, but it defeats the purpose if it is distributed further.