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Thursday, 12 November 2015
Page: 8445

Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (13:03): With great pleasure I rise to support this bill, the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Harming Australians) Bill 2015, which I co-sponsored with the Attorney-General. I would like to particularly thank Senator Collins for a very gracious contribution in relation to this. It was a very fair summary of the bill. I also want to acknowledge the cooperation of the opposition and, indeed, the discussions I have had with the shadow Attorney-General, the Hon. Mark Dreyfus QC, in respect of this—discussions had as recently as last night.

I think that Senator Collins has summed up the position very well. These are important matters in terms of extraterritoriality and retrospectivity, and the human rights issues have been dealt with comprehensively in this bill. They have been dealt with as a result of an opinion that I obtained from Claire O'Connor SC, an Adelaide based barrister, who is well known for her human rights work. No-one would question Ms O'Connor's human rights credentials and her concern about maintaining not only the rule of law but also a very strong human rights framework. She is well known for her work in respect of asylum seeker cases, for instance.

I also want to genuinely thank the Attorney-General for the work that he has done, both in his time in opposition and as Attorney. This has been a very long process; it has been a very thorough process. The Attorney-General has been terrific to deal with on this and, at the risk of embarrassing him, James Lambie, who is one of his senior advisers—

An honourable senator interjecting

Senator XENOPHON: He is un-embarrassable—maybe. I do not think it has been dozens of phone calls we have had over the years; it is possibly hundreds of phone calls we have had over the years in relation to this bill—but he has been incredibly patient. The Attorney has done a magnificent job of working through the concerns. The easy thing for the Attorney to have done would have been to say, 'This is all too hard,' but he did not. I want to pay genuine tribute to the Attorney for the way that he has handled this bill. He has listened to the concerns and he has methodically worked through it to get to the stage where we are today. So I genuinely want to thank him.

I also should acknowledge the member for Sturt, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP. The Bradshaw family are his constituents. He has done tremendous work in advocating for this bill. He has been a great advocate, in addition to the Attorney, in cabinet, and I genuinely thank Mr Pyne for the work he has done.

It is also important to acknowledge that this bill has been brought about by both the grief and the love of the Bradshaw family—Martin and Ros Bradshaw, the parents of Anthea, and Anthea's brothers Craig and Paul. None of them have ever given up hope that one day there will be a process for justice for their daughter's and sister's murder in Brunei in July 1994. That has been outlined previously, and I do not propose to go into further detail. But I do want to acknowledge the work of a journalist, Nigel Hunt, from the Adelaide Advertiser, whose relentless investigative, forensic work on this brought this matter to light. It has been an absolute privilege to work with all the parties involved to get to this stage.

There are real safeguards in the bill that the Attorney has introduced and that I have had the privilege of co-sponsoring. Concerns were taken into account, and I thank Senator Ian Macdonald, as chair of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, for his incredible patience in dealing with this matter.

I do not think it is appropriate that I should go into too much detail about the circumstances of Anthea's death, but I think it is fair to say that this bill will remedy a gap in the law that will allow the South Australia Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions to proceed with this matter further should they consider there is evidence to do so. It is not just about the Bradshaws; it is about every other family where there has been a death of an Australian overseas and issues of extraterritoriality are relevant in the context of this bill.

I conclude by saying it has been a genuine privilege to work with my colleagues on this—to work with the Attorney for some time on this and with James Lambie from his office, the opposition and Christopher Pyne, the member for Sturt. This shows the parliament working at its best, in a way that is not partisan, in a way that goes beyond politics to achieve a good outcome for the community. I strongly support this bill and look forward to its speedy passage in both Houses.