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Thursday, 8 February 2018
Page: 837


Mr TAYLOR (HumeMinister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity) (12:13): I thank the honourable members for their valuable contributions to this debate on the Crimes Legislation Amendment (International Crime Cooperation and Other Measures) Bill 2016, which will make significant improvements to the Commonwealth's criminal justice system. I really appreciate the comments that have just been made and those by the member for Canberra a moment ago, particularly her comments on cybersecurity, where I think we can maintain a spirit of bipartisanship in dealing with what is a very serious, significant issue for Australia and Australians. The bill will strengthen Australia's international crime cooperation arrangements to ensure that we're in the best possible position to work with international partners to combat crime both here and abroad.

The amendments in the bill will ensure that Australia can respond effectively to requests for assistance from foreign countries and international bodies in accordance with our international obligations. The amendments will assist Australia to avoid becoming a safe haven for foreign proceeds of crime and also ensure that criminals can't evade justice by moving evidence across borders or fleeing jurisdictions, and I take the former speaker's point that increasingly fluid borders are a very serious issue in dealing with criminals. The bill introduces amendments to ensure vulnerable child complainants are afforded the same protections as adult complainants when giving evidence in Commonwealth criminal proceedings. It amends the AFP's internal drug and alcohol testing regime and integrity framework to allow the AFP to maintain the integrity of its workforce and ensure it can enforce its zero-tolerance policy regarding illicit drug-taking. Amendments will authorise the commissioner to extend the date of resignation for appointees under investigation for serious misconduct or corruption, again reinforcing the integrity of the AFP workforce. It includes amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 to provide additional flexibility to departing travellers reporting movements of physical currency and improve information-sharing between Commonwealth agencies.

The bill includes minor consequential amendments to the Australian Crime Commission Act to facilitate the use of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission as an alternative name for the Australian Crime Commission. It makes amendments to the AusCheck Act to enable AusCheck to conduct and coordinate background checks on individuals in relation to declared major national events.

This bill will strengthen Australia's criminal justice framework, both domestically and internationally, ensuring that law enforcement and justice agencies are equipped with the necessary powers to fight crime at home and abroad. It will strengthen the government's ability to detect and address serious national security and other risks in relation to large-scale national events. It will enhance the Commonwealth's anti-human-trafficking and anti-slavery regime and the protections afforded to vulnerable witnesses within our criminal justice system.

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee has considered the bill and made recommendations for amendments, subject to which the committee recommends the bill be passed. The government has moved amendments that will implement the committee's recommendations. We also had consideration of this bill by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights and the government notes the Human Rights Committee's view on the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act and the Extradition Act. We are committed to ensuring that Australia operates in a manner that is consistent with Australia's international law obligations, including international human rights obligations. I'd like to thank these committees for their consideration of the bill. I'd also like to assure the House that, consistent with these reports, the bill contains appropriate measures balanced by sensible and appropriate safeguards. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.