Page 4306 - Week 10 - Thursday, 22 September 2011

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Security Industry Amendment Bill 2011

Debate resumed from 30 June 2011, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.50): The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill which is part of a suite of changes that implement COAG agreed reforms to the private security industry. But in supporting this bill let me make it clear that we continue to object to the requirement that an applicant employee must get information about workplace rights and responsibilities from a union. I will address this issue in a little more detail later.

This bill seeks to do several things. Firstly, it enables criminal intelligence to be obtained as part of the consideration of licence applications. It introduces mandatory fingerprints for applicants; I note that the bill requires subsequent destruction of the image and any copies not given to the applicant. The bill enables the regulator to consider unverified backgrounds, particularly related to periods of residence overseas. It introduces exclusionary offences, including spent convictions, and I note that there are some consequential amendments to the Spent Convictions Act 2000. The bill confers powers on the Commissioner for Fair Trading to cancel or suspend a licence after meeting certain conditions. It extends the term of licences from the current one year to three years.

The amendments brought in this bill engage several areas of the Human Rights Act. The explanatory statement addresses these matters rather scantily, arguing:

Security licensees are often involved with vulnerable people and employed in positions of trust with the duty of ensuring the security of individuals and public places.

And it concludes that any limitations on human rights are considered reasonable. The bill carries limitations on the potential extent to which human rights are engaged and provides a range of checks and balances, including ACAT reviews and appeals, to mitigate any such engagement. That said, the scrutiny of bills committee described the explanatory statement as inadequate, asserting:

The failure to offer a proper justification—

that is, for the incompatibility of the bill with the Human Rights Act—

will indeed make the statute more vulnerable to a finding of incompatibility by a court.

The committee recommended that a new explanatory statement be prepared.

The committee also called on the minister to explain two matters. Firstly, it was interested to know how it is intended that a court “convey” that it “proposes” to find that certain information is not criminal intelligence. And secondly, the committee

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