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Wednesday, 26 November 1980
Page: 28

Senator MISSEN - I refer the AttorneyGeneral to my question without notice of 2 March 1978 concerning the Criminal Investigation Bill of 1977 which was a Bill to implement the report of the Australian Law Reform Commission and which, as the Attorney-General knows, lapsed with the dissolution of Parliament in November 1977. In answering my question as to when the Senate could expect the reintroduction of the Criminal Investigation Bill in the Parliament, the Attorney-General stated: 'I hope to be in a position to make some recommendations to the Government in the near future'. Given the time which has since elapsed, does the AttorneyGeneral agree that implementation of the Australian Law Reform Commission's proposals to give legislative form to the rights and duties of police in conducting investigations is long overdue? Does the Attorney-General also agree that the Criminal Investigation Bill is an important measure in relation to the maintenance of individual rights in Australia? If so, when can the Senate expect to see the reintroduction of a revised Criminal Investigation Bill in the Parliament?

Senator DURACK - Time certainly flies in this place. We are talking about something that was said on 2 March 1978. Despite the passage of time, the problem of the Criminal Investigation Bill has not escaped my attention or been ignored by me. The position is that when I came to reconsider the Bill after the last election - I think that was probably the state of play when that question was asked and answered - it appeared to me to have a number of difficulties about it, particularly in relation to drafting and so on. It was decided that the matter should be looked at again. That has been done. The Bill was gone through very thoroughly by a committee of officers of my Department and of the police, as a result of which it was decided that we would draft another Bill. That was to be drafted by the consultant, Mr Comans, because the Parliamentary Counsel was under pressure and it was decided that that was a suitable job for Mr Comans to do. He has recently completed the drafting that I had sought. At this stage I have not had an opportunity of considering that draft or the next step to be taken, but I certainly propose to consider that draft in the near future and to put to the Government a proposal as to what action should be taken in relation to it. I certainly agree that it is an important measure and I hope that we will be able to introduce some legislation in respect of it. I will certainly be giving it attention during the recess.

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