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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 2 Hansard (23 February) . . Page.. 499..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

The commissioner's advice is a detailed and thorough assessment of the legislative responses that the South Australian and New South Wales governments have taken in recent years targeting outlaw motorcycle gangs. In her advice, the commissioner concludes that it is unlikely that a legislative response similar to that of the South Australian and New South Wales anti-association laws to outlaw bikie gangs would be compatible with our obligations under the Human Rights Act 2004. The government agrees with the commissioner's position that the anti-association laws are too great an impediment on human rights. As I have previously indicated, the banning of organisations in other Australian jurisdictions is a grave and extraordinary step by the respective legislatures and it is not something that the government considers necessary in the territory.

Consequently, the government will not be adopting the onerous and draconian laws of South Australia and New South Wales which some members of this Assembly have previously called for. As members would be aware, during the debate in the Assembly on serious organised crime last year, I announced the government's intention to introduce amendments to strengthen the territory's ability to combat serious organised crime.

The report also detailed possible legislative changes that the government could consider which could further strengthen the ACT's stance against serious organised crime groups and their activities. The government has considered the commissioner's advice in considering whether legislative amendments are needed in the territory.

Later this week, I will be introducing the Crimes (Serious Organised Crime) Amendment Bill 2010, which contains a suite of measured responses to combat serious organised crime. The bill seeks to introduce the offences of affray, participation in a criminal group and recruiting persons to participate in criminal activity. The bill also extends the concepts of criminal responsibility to reintroduce the concept of joint criminal enterprise and being knowingly concerned. The bill will strike a fair balance between the ability of police to disrupt serious organised crime where it occurs in the territory and ensuring the protection of fundamental human rights.

The commissioner's report notes comments in the recent Australian parliamentary joint committee inquiry into the legislative arrangements to outlaw serious and organised crime. It was noted that it is more critical and effective to remove the financial motive of organised crime through confiscating proceeds of crime than dealing with issues such as control orders.

The commissioner's advice also evaluates unexplained wealth provisions in other Australian jurisdictions and whether such schemes would be compatible in a human rights jurisdiction. While the government is currently considering the best legislative approach to remove the financial incentive of engaging in organised crime, it is essential that this is done in a measured and considered manner. The government will undertake further work on this matter.

I would like to thank the Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Watchirs, for her detailed consideration and advice on this matter, and I invite all members to give it close reading.


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