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Thursday, 10 December 2020
Page: 7409

Senator BROCKMAN (Western AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (10:04): In the interests of time, I'll just give a short contribution today on the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019. We obviously have a very full agenda ahead of us. However, before getting started on this bill—in his speech, Senator McKim just spoke a lot about the interactions with donations to political parties, but I will remind those listening that the largest single donation ever made in Australian political history was to the Greens party. It is greatly ironic that Senator McKim gets up in here, speaks about an anti-money-laundering bill and turns it into an attack on the Labor Party. Whilst I would never stop the Greens and Labor from fighting with each other over on the other side of the chamber, I think it is very important to remember that anti-money-laundering and counterterrorism financing is actually an extraordinarily important issue to the future of this country.

Senator Watt interjecting—

Senator BROCKMAN: Who knows! This is an area where, as a nation, we are in a constant arms race. The techniques used by criminal organisations, by terrorist organisations, are constantly changing and constantly evolving, and so the law in this space must constantly change and evolve with those who wish to involve themselves in illegal activities or the financing of terrorism.

Obviously, this government is absolutely committed to strengthening our anti-money-laundering and counterterrorism financing regime. In this bill, we are reducing compliance costs by around $3.1 billion over 10 years by allowing industries to work more closely together to discharge customer identification and verification obligations. We're improving and streamlining obligations relating to correspondent banking relationships, customer identification and verification procedures, the sharing of financial intelligence and cross-border reporting of monetary instruments. We're also addressing the barriers to the successful prosecution of money-laundering offences. The bill also makes it an offence for a person to dishonestly represent that a police award has been conferred on them. Obviously, we had a situation in Western Australia quite recently that involved a member of parliament with particular claims of a particular history of police service that turned out to be untrue. Again, I do not want to make this a long contribution. We do have a lot of material to get through today. But this is an extraordinarily important area of law reform and something that this government is strongly committed to. I commend the bill to the house.