Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 341..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
Mr Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to consider this important social issue-the provision of public housing and support to tenants-and would like to conclude by noting the significant efforts and cooperation between ACT government and community agencies to achieving that end.
Of course, there is always room for improvement. I would carefully consider any constructive suggestions for my portfolio arising out of today's debate.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Ms Gallagher. Discussion on the matter of public importance has concluded.
Confiscation of Criminal Assets Bill 2002
MR SPEAKER: Mr Stefaniak, at the luncheon suspension I interrupted your speech. That may have seemed a bit mean on the surface, considering that you had only a couple of minutes to go. I was flying rudderless, in that we attempt to suspend at 12.30 unless an agreement is brought to my attention. Could members keep that in mind. Members have appointments they have to keep at lunchtime. Unless it is brought to my attention that there is an arrangement, I try to break at 12.30.
MR STEFANIAK (4.40): Thank you for that, Mr Speaker. I was a little bit taken aback. I think you interrupted me mid-sentence. You have indicated your position, and I thank you for doing that.
I was referring to page 5 of the Attorney's response under the heading "Self-incrimination and other privileges overridden". It explains the government's position quite well, and we are quite happy with that.
I have two further points on this legislation. Very important are the new investigative tools to locate and seize assets. One big benefits will be financial notices to banks to give information. That has always been a huge problem with the current legislation because of national privacy legislation. There are a lot of issues around privacy legislation. It can be very difficult for people legitimately trying to get information from people who have done the wrong thing. There are probably other national laws we need to look at. Some unintended consequences have made it hard for law-abiding citizens trying to pursue a reasonable remedy in a whole range of areas.
The bill also provides for examination of a person's assets and income. Whilst that could occur under the old legislation, this bill makes it simpler and easier. It is terribly important to work out what assets of a criminal are the proceeds of crime and what assets genuinely and legitimately belong to them.