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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4996 ..

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Arts and Heritage) (12.03), in reply: Ms Tucker is right; we should not agree lightly to the implementation of legislation such as this. I inform members that we have not agreed lightly to implement this legislation. Debate on this bill has been long and arduous across every jurisdiction and we have reached certain conclusions.

Ms Dundas said earlier that the bill raised serious human rights issues. The bill does raise serious human rights issues but, in the end, we will achieve a balance by establishing a body that is able to fight sophisticated and serious crime. However, that body needs certain powers-powers that we can give it without undue intrusion into the rights of honest citizens. It has been quite a difficult task but, given all the circumstances, I believe we have achieved a reasonable outcome.

These changes represent a major restructuring of national law enforcement, among other things, to overcome jurisdictional boundaries that have often hindered the effective investigation of organised crime. By facilitating the operation of the commission in the ACT, we will enable officers of that commission to pursue organised crime within and outside the borders of the ACT. The commission will identify a number of national law enforcement intelligence priorities, and law enforcement agencies will work in partnership with it to tackle serious and organised crime.

If we are to deal effectively with organised crime, jurisdictions cannot operate in isolation. Heads of Commonwealth, state and territory law enforcement agencies, including the ACT chief police officer, will be on the board of the Australian Crime Commission. There are local benefits in providing for the operation of the commission in the ACT. The commission may undertake investigations in relation to criminal activity that relates to ACT offences, whether or not those offences have a federal basis. That is significant as it will assist the ACT in investigating and combating territorial as well as national crime. Enhanced mechanisms for a coordinated sharing of intelligence about criminal activity will assist ACT police in the investigation of such crime.

An important aspect of this legislation is the presence of the ACT chief police officer on the board. The ACT is actively represented in this scheme in other ways. The territory minister of the day will be represented on the intergovernmental committee, along with ministers from each participating state and the Commonwealth. This committee, which will oversee the work of the Australian Crime Commission and its board, will have the power to revoke determinations of the board. The chair of the board will give the committee a report on the findings of any Australian Crime Commission operation or investigation. The territory minister, who will be a member of the intergovernmental committee, can also request from the chair of the board information relating to the performance by the commission of its functions.

So we will be able, independently, to obtain information about the conduct of the commission. The territory minister will also be able to enter into arrangements with the Commonwealth minister for the board of the Australian Crime Commission to receive from the ACT or an ACT authority information and intelligence about criminal activities. There was some comment today about the report of the scrutiny of bills committee and, in particular, its reference to clause 26 subclause (9) of the bill which relates to the application of legal professional privilege, the modification of privilege against self-

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