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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 8 Hansard (7 August) . . Page.. 3095..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

Australia to conducting controlled operations. As a consequence, the ACT's legislation and that of other jurisdiction is based on that model bill. There are a couple of aspects to which I should refer at this point.

This legislation has been developed in response to decisions that have been taken by courts in Australia, particularly the High Court in re Ridgeway. One of the outcomes of that decision was that the conduct of controlled operations should be provided for by appropriate legislation. Another important matter is the way in which covert operations are managed.

There is much detail provided in the bill which specifies the nature of any covert operation, particularly covering such matters as the nature of information that is required in any application for such an operation, covered by clause 10; the form of any authority for such an operation and of any amendments that may be proposed, covered in clause 11; disclosure of information, clause 26; and in particular, and most importantly, the keeping of records, which is covered by clauses 27, 28, 29 and 30.

Considerable care is given to the important matter of the delegation of authority to approve any covert operation. Clause 33 sets out the very limited extent to which any delegation of this authority can be made. Only two people can approve a controlled operation, and they are the Chief Police Officer and the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Crime Commission. In this context, I note that controlled operations in many cases will involve national considerations and, hence, will involve the Australian Crime Authority. Any delegation from either of these two people can only be made to a limited number of people.

I understand there has been strong support from ACT Policing for the proposals set out in this bill. I have consulted with the Australian Federal Police Association. They tell me that they believe the bill will be a very useful tool in combating crime in this jurisdiction. With that, the opposition will be supporting this bill.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.58): I do not oppose the central principles behind this bill. I recognise that there will be occasions when law enforcement agencies need to use the kinds of powers contained in this bill in order to effectively disrupt criminal networks. My major concerns with this bill centre on the lack of checks and balances and the very low level of oversight and control that the ACT can exercise over its own police force. We are the only jurisdiction that does not appoint its own police commissioner and we are one of the jurisdictions that do not have our own anti-corruption body.

ACT Policing only has to submit a limited report once a year to the Attorney-General. We rely strongly on the AFP to oversight ACT Policing. I agree with the AFP Association that the Haneef case has undermined the public's faith in the independence of the AFP. The ACT needs its own anti-corruption body, and it is disgraceful that successive ACT governments have been satisfied with the existing arrangements by which the AFP seems to use the ACT as a training ground for its junior officers and under which the ACT has no control over the loss of senior staff to national or overseas AFP deployments.


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