Page 4079 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 22 October 1991

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BILL 1991

Debate resumed from 12 September 1991, on motion by Mr Connolly:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (9.06): As Mr Collaery is not present, I shall speak first. This Bill ensures that the National Crime Authority can operate effectively in the Australian Capital Territory. It complements legislation which I understand is being introduced in other States and, indeed, in the State that surrounds the ACT, New South Wales. These provisions ensure that the National Crime Authority has all relevant powers to enable it to go about its very necessary business in the Territory.

In these days of white collar crime and very serious corporate crime, bodies such as the National Crime Authority are essential for countering the Mr Bigs, for countering possible corruption - corruption in government, corruption in the public service. Accordingly, it is utterly essential that such an authority complement the normal territorial or State authorities, both investigatory and prosecution. Current crime fighting techniques in many respects have not kept up with the sophisticated nature of organised crime. The advent of the National Crime Authority was very welcome; it certainly complements the more conventional law enforcement bodies within the Commonwealth of Australia.

The Liberal Party has no problems with this Bill and welcomes it. We hope that it has a speedy passage through this Assembly. I note that my colleague Mr Collaery is here now. He wants to say a few words because he was actively involved with this Bill. I was going to speak after my learned friend Mr Collaery, but I thank him for the opportunity to go first.

MR COLLAERY (9.08): I thank my colleague Mr Stefaniak for holding the fort and I apologise to the house for not taking the call. I am pleased to rise in response to this Bill, which represents the outcome of discussions and negotiations initiated whilst I was Attorney-General. The National Crime Authority has been described as a unique law enforcement body with special investigative powers and a multijurisdictional focus. Its mission statement requires it to "take effective action to reduce the incidence and impact of organised crime in Australia".

I refer members to the text of that mission statement, which is to be found at appendix A of the National Crime Authority's annual report for the year 1989-90. I draw members' attention to the report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the National Crime Authority, tabled in the Federal Parliament last year. It observed:

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