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Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Page: 8820


Senator SCULLION (Northern TerritoryMinister for Indigenous Affairs and Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (17:51): I would just reiterate the motivation and the mischief that this legislation seeks to ameliorate. There is currently conduct that is lawful in Australia. All the circumstances that you have described, Senator, are currently unlawful in Australia. The motivation for this legislation is to ensure that those things that are obviously odious to the Australian public but currently lawful in Australia are now made unlawful by this piece of legislation.

You make a few references to circumstances where you wish to make amendments to include them in this legislation. As you would know, Taskforce Cadena, which is a taskforce made up of both Fair Work Australia and the department, is acting to ensure that those circumstances, as they come to bear, are investigated.

You did refer to boiler room activities and they are horrendous circumstances. I do not want to go into any great detail. Those issues are currently under investigation. The authorities are moving to provide a brief of evidence to prosecution, as they should under these matters, because those matters are lawful. But where a matter that is equally odious to us comes to the attention of the Australian government or the authorities, we cannot act on it because it is currently lawful in this country. So this legislation specifically seeks to ensure the right to remain in this country. As a sponsor, people are using coercion, at one level or another, to ensure that they can gain access. After this legislation, that will be unlawful. Where one party has been coercive in their behaviour, that will be unlawful and various authorities will now be able to act.