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Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Page: 12670

Ms ROXON (GellibrandAttorney-General and Minister for Emergency Management) (16:43): It is normal in the summing up speech to thank those who have contributed to the debate. I think that is a little difficult after the member for Mayo's contributions because they were, I have to say, a bit half-hearted in what is a serious piece of legislation. I certainly do not criticise the opposition's wanting to reserve its position following the Senate's committee process, because that is a normal step that can be taken for legislation. But I think to be rambling, quite frankly, about Customs cuts really does show—and I know that you are acting for the member for Stirling while he is on paternity leave—a lack of understanding that intelligence based screening is actually delivering better outcomes for identifying, through customs, prohibited goods being brought into Australia. Obviously that is also not especially relevant to the bill.

But I am pleased that, in the middle of all of that, the member for Mayo made it clear that the substantive changes to the bill primarily modernise and tighten criminal legislation. It is important that we make sure we can quickly respond to the changing types of drugs being brought into the community. It is important that we deal with new offences, such as identify crime, which are becoming much more prevalent. That is what this bill seeks to do.

We know that organised criminals can adapt and change their behaviour to try and evade detection and escape prosecution. They can seek out loopholes and turn to new and different ways to prey on their victims—be that through seeking out new drugs to import, developing more sophisticated financial fraud or exploiting the opportunities the internet provides to facilitate identity fraud. Our response has been to provide law enforcement with the tools to respond quickly to these emerging trends now and into the future. That is exactly what this bill does, as well as providing for significant increases in the financial penalties for those offences. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

Ordered that this bill be reported to the House without amendment.