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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3888 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Clause 3 puts it beyond doubt that this principle forms a major part of the underlying philosophical basis for the bill. That clause sets out the purposes of the bill, which are, in summary, to encourage law-abiding behaviour, to give effect to the principle that people should not be enriched by crime, to deprive people of all material advantage gained from crime, to deprive people of property used to commit crime, to enable the effective tracing and seizure of criminal assets and to enable the territory to enforce interstate confiscation measures.

The ALRC's recommendations regarding the need to expand the range of criminal assets that can be subject to confiscation action and to include in this range any property or benefits generated by the commercialisation of an offender's involvement in crime have been incorporated into provisions found in parts 3, 4, 5 and 7 of the bill dealing with the restraint and forfeiture of tainted property and benefits derived from the commission of offences.

The concept of tainted property includes all property derived, directly or indirectly, from an offence as well as property used, or intended to be used, in the commission of offences. The concept of benefits includes all property, services or other advantages derived from an offence, including any artistic profits flowing from the commercialisation of events associated with the offence, such as the royalties paid to an offender who writes a memoir about his life of crime.

Other significant Australian Law Reform Commission recommendations that are adopted by the bill are, briefly, simplifying the processes for obtaining restraining orders, recasting judicial discretions in relation to the grant of orders, clarifying the Public Trustee's powers to administer restrained and forfeited assets, strengthening the information gathering powers of law enforcement authorities, providing for transaction suspension orders and allowing confiscation applications to be dealt with by inferior courts.

Mr Speaker, having outlined the principles on which the bill is based and highlighted its key features, I believe it is appropriate to consider the circumstances in which the bill might be used. It is undeniable that, historically, measures such as those contained in this bill have been used primarily to combat the illegal narcotics trade and associated organised criminal activity, serious corporate fraud and tax evasion. While these uses are more than capable of justifying the measures in this bill, it is useful to consider how else the bill could be used against serious crime that damages the community as a whole.

An example could be environmental crime where a corporation has caused severe damage to the environment, and even to public health, simply to generate a profit. The penalty order provisions could be used against employers who commit serious occupational health and safety offences so they can increase profits or put in the most competitive tender for a major project and end up causing death or serious injury to their workers. It could be used against white-collar criminals who use the internet to defraud hundreds of people, or against people who sexually exploit children for profit or who force others to work in brothels against their will.

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