Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4995 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
organised crime. Both terrorism and organised crime have been developed into concepts of great menace and it has been argued that human rights are less important in light of this work. I made those points to emphasise the fact that we should not agree to this legislation lightly.
MR STEFANIAK (12.00): We are living in dangerous times-not in the 1920s, the 1930s, the 1950s or even in the 1980s. The Australian Crime Commission (ACT) Bill, which was introduced almost two months ago, has as its object the establishment of the Australian Crime Commission, a body that will replace the National Crime Authority. I became aware of the intention to introduce legislation such as this when I attended a police ministers meeting in Perth in 2000. When we are looking at big-picture issues such as terrorist threats to Australia, we realise that this commission will assist in countering terrorism and organised crime. National legislation such as this is important in balancing our rights.
In this sophisticated modern era it is not really satisfactory that the community, through its law enforcement agencies, has to fight organised crime and terrorism with one hand tied behind its back. It should do so fairly in a democratic system and it should have in place laws that are powerful enough to ensure that ordinary citizens are protected. All that reasonably can be done should be done to bring evil people such as criminals and terrorists to justice. A famous person once said, "All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing."These days we would refer to good men and women. It is a very true saying.
The ACT, as part of the Commonwealth of Australia, must enact legislation similar to legislation that has been enacted by the Commonwealth to establish the Australian Crime Commission. The minister, in response to the issues raised in the report of the scrutiny of bills committee and pursuant to our charter, prepared a measured and reasonable statement. I refer to the first paragraph of his statement which effectively sums up this legislation by stating:
As the Committee is aware, this Bill is part of a national uniform scheme to complement the Commonwealth government's Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 (the ACC Act) which was agreed to by heads of Australian governments in 2002. The Bill was modelled on a Western Australian Bill (that was largely based on the ACC Act) and was drafted by a National Parliamentary Counsel's Committee. With the Commonwealth ACC Act as the "centrepiece"of the scheme, the model Bill was drafted in a way to ensure that there were no legislative gaps in State and Territory legislation that would impede the investigation and pursuit of serious organised crime across jurisdictions. The provisions that the Committee has commented on therefore, reflect the agreed national position on these matters.
We participate in many state and national schemes. This scheme is just another of those schemes, but it is probably the most important as it involves protecting the community against organised crime, big drug syndicates and terrorism, and against those who wish us ill. Crime knows no boundaries even if the boundaries between the ACT and New South Wales, New South Wales and Queensland, and Queensland and the Northern Territory are artificial. We must enact legislation such as this. As Mr Pratt said earlier, the opposition will be supporting this legislation which will bring us into line with all other jurisdictions.