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Wednesday, 11 December 2002
Page: 7700

Senator NETTLE (12:03 PM) —I am concerned about the person subject to the questioning regime having to pay for their legal costs and then having to go through what could potentially be an elongated process to be reimbursed for those costs. I note what Senator Faulkner said about the opposition amendments: that the prescribed authority can assist in recommending legal counsel for the person who is being questioned. The opposition wants to include this in the legislation as a fall-back to the person being able to propose their own legal adviser, but I can imagine an instance where those legal representatives recommended by the prescribed authority may not be the cheapest legal representatives around. There could be additional costs to the person being questioned that are far beyond what they may have anticipated in paying for their own legal counsel.

This is a concern in terms of the individual's ability to access legal counsel, particularly legal counsel that the prescribed authority has assisted them to access. I wondered about the way in which that may operate. I think it is very important that these procedural difficulties are dealt with as a whole, and that the statements are clarified in the light of the opposition's questioning and detention regime not proposing any specific guidelines. Could you deal specifically with the issue of reimbursement and offer any more thoughts from the opposition about how that might operate? I am concerned about people having to fork out fees for lawyers recommended by the prescribed authority that could be well above what they anticipated paying.