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Thursday, 29 October 2009
Page: 7605

Senator FAULKNER (Minister for Defence) (12:19 PM) —I table a supplementary explanatory memorandum relating to the government amendments that I will be moving to this bill. I have been advised that the memorandum was circulated in the chamber on 26 October. I seek leave to move government amendments (1) to (9) on sheet AF220 together.

Leave granted.

Senator FAULKNER —I move:

(1)    Schedule 1, item 1, page 3 (line 8), omit “AusCheck scheme”.

(2)    Schedule 1, item 2, page 3 (lines 14 to 16), omit “performed in relation to the individual for a purpose referred to in subparagraph 8(c)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) or (vi)”, substitute “conducted in relation to the individual under an Act or legislative instrument referred to in subparagraph 8(1)(b)(i) or (ii) for a purpose referred to in paragraph 8(2)(a), (b), (c), or (d)”.

(3)    Schedule 1, items 6 and 7, page 3 (line 27) to page 4 (line 10), omit the items, substitute:

6  Section 8

Repeal the section, substitute:

         (1)    The regulations may provide for the establishment of a scheme (the AusCheck scheme) relating to the conduct and coordination of background checks of individuals if:

              (a)    any of the following laws requires or permits a background check to be conducted of an individual for specified purposes:

                    (i)    the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 or regulations under that Act;

                   (ii)    the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 or regulations under that Act; or

              (b)    any other Act (other than this Act) expressly:

                    (i)    requires or permits a background check of an individual to be conducted under the AusCheck scheme for purposes specified in the Act; or

                   (ii)    provides for the making of a legislative instrument requiring or permitting a background check of an individual to be conducted under the AusCheck scheme for purposes specified in the Act.

         (2)    If paragraph (1)(b) applies, the background check must be conducted for purposes related to:

              (a)    Australia’s national security; or

              (b)    the defence of Australia; or

              (c)    a national emergency; or

              (d)    the prevention of conduct to which Part 5.3 of Chapter 5 of the Criminal Code (which deals with terrorism) applies.

7  Saving of regulations

Despite the amendment made by item 6, regulations in force for the purposes of section 8 of the AusCheck Act 2007 immediately before the commencement of this item continue in effect, after that commencement, as if they had been made for the purposes of that section, as in force after that commencement.

(4)    Schedule 1, page 5 (after line 2), after item 10, insert:

10A  Division 1 of Part 3 (heading)

Repeal the heading, substitute:

(5)    Schedule 1, item 12, page 5 (line 9), after “conducted”, insert “under the AusCheck scheme”.

(6)    Schedule 1, item 12, page 5 (line 13), after “conducted”, insert “under the AusCheck scheme”.

(7)    Schedule 1, item 14, page 5 (line 28) to page 6 (line 16), omit the item, substitute:

14  Subsection 14(1)

Omit “, including AusCheck scheme personal information,”, substitute “(other than identity verification information)”.

Note 1: The heading to section 14 is altered by inserting “and disclosure” after “use”.

Note 2: The following heading to subsection 14(1) is inserted “Establishment of AusCheck database”.

14A  Subsection 14(2)

After “individual” (first occurring), insert “(other than identity verification information)”.

Note:                The following heading to subsection 14(2) is inserted “Use and disclosure of AusCheck personal information other than identity verification information”.

(8)    Schedule 1, item 17, page 6 (line 33), omit “Identity verification information about an individual”, substitute “AusCheck scheme personal information about an individual that is identity verification information”.

(9)    Schedule 1, item 19, page 7 (lines 5 and 6), omit the item, substitute:

19  After section 14


                  Despite sections 13 and 14, those sections only authorise the collection, retention, use and disclosure by the Secretary or an AusCheck staff member of identity verification information about an individual in relation to whom a background check is being or has been conducted, if the collection, retention, use or disclosure is directly necessary for the purpose of:

              (a)    passing the information to a Commonwealth, State or Territory body, agency or organisation that is responsible for, or deals with, law enforcement, criminal intelligence, criminal investigation, fraud or security intelligence in, or in a part of, Australia for the purpose of that body, agency or organisation verifying the identity of the individual for the purposes of the background check; or

              (b)    providing the information to the individual.

20  After subsection 15(1)


      (1A)    A person commits an offence if:

              (a)    the person obtains information; and

              (b)    the information is AusCheck scheme personal information; and

              (c)    the person discloses the information to someone else.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 2 years.

21  Subsection 15(2)

After “(1)”, insert “or (1A)”.

22  After paragraph 15(2)(c)


            (ca)    if the information is AusCheck scheme personal information—a disclosure that is:

                    (i)    taken to be authorised under section 13; or

                   (ii)    authorised under section 14; or

                  (iii)    required or authorised by or under another law;

As I mentioned, these particular government amendments adopt four of the six recommendations made by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee as it examined this piece of legislation. Let me say to the Senate chamber that I believe that the amendments that have been moved strengthen privacy and other safeguards in the bill. I commend the amendments to the Senate.