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Thursday, 28 November 2019
Page: 6345

Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Home Affairs) (10:06): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The government is committed to supporting the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and its critical work in working towards a safer Australia.

As Australia's national criminal intelligence agency, the ACIC undertakes essential and indispensable functions in gathering intelligence and undertaking investigations to inform a national picture of crime as it impacts Australia. In doing so, the ACIC is contributing to an Australia that is better connected, better informed and highly capable of responding to transnational, serious and organised crime, cybercrime, and national security threats.

The threat environment and risks to Australia's national security are constantly evolving, endangering the safety, security and prosperity of Australia and our way of life. Organised crime syndicates are highly resilient to traditional investigative and intelligence-gathering methodologies and readily adapt to advances in technologies in their attempts to evade detection and disruption.

The Australian Crime Commission Amendment (Special Operations and Special Investigations) Bill will ensure that the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission can continue to effectively detect, prevent and disrupt the nefarious activities of serious and organised crime targets.

This bill will make technical amendments to the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 to streamline the authorisation process for the ACIC board to determine future special operations and special investigations and will confirm the validity of existing special operation and special investigation determinations. The bill does not expand or otherwise alter the powers available to the ACIC in the course of undertaking a special operation or special investigation.

The bill also makes minor consequential amendments to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement Act 2010and the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979as a result of the technical amendments to the Australian Crime Commission Act.

The measures in this bill are vital to safeguarding the ability of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to fulfil its statutory functions and actively contribute to a safer and more secure Australia.

I pay tribute to Mr Michael Phelan, CEO of the ACIC, and all of the staff—the investigators, the analysts and those that support all of the operations that are underway on a daily basis to keep Australians safe. We continue to provide strong support to their efforts and to their work. It's invaluable, and the professionalism of Mr Phelan and all of those involved at the ACIC is recognised here domestically but around the world as well.

On that basis, I commend the bill to the chamber.

Debate adjourned.