Page 3103 - Week 08 - Thursday, 7 August 2008

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I will talk further on the issue of corruption. This seems to be Dr Foskey’s main concern. It is a legitimate concern, but it is one that I do not feel she has been able to substantiate as a rationale for opposing this legislation. The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, and the Integrity Commissioner, were established by the commonwealth Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006. “Corruption” is defined in the act as three kinds of activity: an abuse of office; conduct that perverts the course of justice; or corruption of any other kind. This definition would cover any potential abuse of the bill we are considering today.

The commonwealth law is an appropriate protection against corruption. I have absolute confidence in the integrity of the Integrity Commissioner, Mr Moss, and the powers granted to him. I also have confidence that, should Mr Moss identify the requirement for further powers to be granted to him, or further resources to be provided, those matters would be seriously considered by the commonwealth government. Indeed, in my discussions with the Minister for Home Affairs and the minister responsible for ACLEI, Mr Debus, it is clear to me that the commonwealth is seriously considering these matters.

Most concerning for me, though, is that there is a perception that a controlled operation is conducted with little management and that it gives police carte blanche to break the law in the pursuit of organised crime. This is simply not the case. Any operation conducted by ACT Policing, especially controlled operations, are subject to risk management assessment. That risk management assessment informs the planning of the operation and may determine that the proposed operation is simply not an acceptable risk to take. As an operation unfolds, any intelligence gleaned also informs whether the operation should continue, be modified, abandoned or proceed to an overt phase.

This bill will empower police to involve themselves covertly in organised crime, under strict operational control, to gain evidence and intelligence about criminal behaviour. As I said previously, a controlled operation can only be authorised by the highest ranks in ACT Policing or the Australian Crime Commission and may only be carried out in strict accordance with the details of the formal authority issued for its operation.

The bill is an important part of modernising the territory’s criminal investigation laws. It follows a carefully considered national model. The bill will help to prevent entrapment, not encourage it. The bill will help to prevent corruption, not foster it. And the bill will help the police to do their job in a modern way, not hinder them. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

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