Page 4233 - Week 11 - Thursday, 17 Sept 2009

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we will have the ability to go on as we have before. But they did. They took stop-gap measures and they did not meet the challenges.

We saw none of the structural reforms that were needed and that is why we see this massive underspend. In 2007-08, it was $157 million; $135 million in 2006-07; $151 million in 2005-06. This is a massive amount of the budget. So you get this twofold problem, where individual projects are blowing out in costs —

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, the time for this matter has expired.

Crimes (Assumed Identities) Bill 2009

Debate resumed.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.03): In the ongoing debate this year around serious and organised crime, the Greens have consistently called for cool-headed, evidence-based strategies that are targeted at addressing serious crime. We have contrasted this type of responsible approach with the alternative, which is to quickly and hastily legislate without thinking through all the consequences.

This bill before the Assembly today sets up the legislative system to support and regulate the use of assumed identities. This bill builds on the system of controlled operations introduced into the ACT last year. Assumed identities will allow for police officers and informants to better infiltrate criminal groups during controlled operations. An assumed identity will be authorised after which false documents will be produced to back up that identity.

Clearly, assumed identities and the associated documentation will improve the success of controlled operations. It will make infiltration of criminal groups a more realistic option and enable our police force to plan a controlled operation with the knowledge that they will have access to assumed identities and the associated documentation. In that way, this bill is the type of targeted strategy that the Greens have been calling for. It adds to existing strategies and will make for better police investigations.

Previously, I have said that the Greens would wait until concrete proposals to address serious crime were put forward before deciding whether or not to support them. But this is one such concrete proposal. The Greens are intending to support this bill in the chamber today. It is targeted at and builds upon existing systems used by the police in the ACT.

The legislative guidance provided in this bill as to when assumed identities can and cannot be issued is valuable and we support the relevant provisions. The alternative is to have a quasi or unofficial system of assumed identities where police cut corners to obtain false identification documents. Such a system is unacceptable and the Greens support the intent of this bill to provide the appropriate system.

As the 1997 New South Wales Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service found, where there is no legislative guidance for issuing assumed identities, an unofficial and unaccountable culture is cultivated. This bill ensures that the ACT steers clear of such a culture, and that is a very worthy exercise.

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