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Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Page: 9732

Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (18:45): To deal with the last question first, the minister would ordinarily be advised by his department rather than by the agencies. I am glad you have been a minister, Senator McKim, so you kind of know how this works. The minister would receive a brief from his department. The information in that brief would be assembled from all appropriate sources, but, given that we are speaking of terrorism related conduct, one would ordinarily expect that the source of that information could be from the police and from the security agencies, who will have established to their satisfaction that the relevant facts existed.

I should say, Senator McKim—I do not want to set up a straw man here, and I do not think you should either—that, in most cases, one would expect that this conduct would be so manifest that it would be publicly notorious. We have all been horrified in the last couple of years to see examples of Australian citizens engaged in the practice of beheading or holding aloft the severed heads of individuals, who are displayed in front of an ISIS flag, for example. Just the public notoriety of certain events and the indisputable identification of an individual with those events may well be enough. As you know, Senator, in legal proceedings courts can take judicial notice of notorious public facts, but in other cases it may be that they rely upon information put before them by the department, drawing upon information provided to the department by police and security agencies.