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Thursday, 17 December 1992
Page: 5450

Senator TATE (Minister for Justice) (11.56 p.m.) —I need to emphasise that the question of the lawfulness of the custody or detention is and always should remain a matter for the court to determine. Therefore, the first part of the International Covenant which Senator Chamarette adverted to is properly observed in this Bill.

  As to the question of compensation, we are reiterating matters. Quite clearly, compensation in this case is awarded by a court, if it decides to award it, in the amount of $1 per day for each day of the person's unlawful custody. Compensation is a monetary response by society to the finding of the court that a detention or holding in custody has been unlawful. It is an amount which is properly described as a community response to that finding. The amount which the society is prepared to pay in a particular circumstance can be properly determined, quantified and limited by the society's elected representatives. That is what the Parliament is being invited to do tonight.