Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 478 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
they pursue other lines of inquiry-lines of inquiry that they may at different times pursue for many months. They nevertheless seek to dispose of the asset.
The position that has been put to me, and one that I accept-I have no option but to accept it, and I do accept the word of the Chief Police Officer and the Director of Public Prosecutions-is that there are circumstances in which the public notification of the destruction of some seized assets that are obviously criminal assets would compromise ongoing investigations and police activity.
On the basis of that advice, the government will not support these amendments. It will not support a requirement, in all instances across the board, for certain information to be made public where the publication of that information would compromise criminal investigation, or in some cases perhaps criminal trials.
Accepting, however, Ms Tucker's concerns, I foreshadow an amendment, which is now being circulated, which imposes greater reporting requirements on the Public Trustee in dealing with assets or confiscated proceeds. The amendment does not address the precise point that Ms Tucker is seeking to address, but it does impose a greater reporting requirement on the Public Trustee, but after the event and on the advice of the Chief Police Officer.
MR STEFANIAK (4.24): I thought initially that, of all Ms Tucker's amendments, this one might have some justification and rationale behind it. But I note exactly what the Chief Minister says, and the opposition would not want anything that would compromise policing inquiries or hinder the proper administration of justice-the operation of the police or the DPP, in this instance. Accordingly, we will be opposing those two amendments brought by Ms Tucker.
In relation to the amendment moved by the Attorney, which I have not had a chance to read, if the Attorney can assure me that this does not compromise any proper AFP operation or any proper operation of the DPP-I see he is nodding-then we would be mindful of supporting that. It is handy for people to be given details of how much money is being confiscated and what has occurred in any given period of time.
I was quite shocked to read newspaper reports several months ago that only $40,000 worth of the $550,000 worth of assets seized was able to be confiscated-and it was not a case of somebody getting it wrong in court. A number of magistrates have made the same sorts of observations-and I see the Chief Magistrate here-that there were things that the courts simply could not do under the old legislation, which clearly needed improving.
That was the first I had heard of what the actual figures involved were, so some form of reporting is handy. But it cannot be done in any way that would adversely affect a police operation or efforts by the DPP. The community is very concerned to see justice done and see the ill-gotten gains of criminals, rightfully, forfeited and confiscated by the authorities. That is of paramount concern here, and one of the good aspects of this bill is that it ensures that that is much more likely to happen now than it ever was in the past.
MS DUNDAS (4.26): I believe that the amendment moved by Ms Tucker will allow the Legislative Assembly to keep a watch over the implementation of this bill. As I have said