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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Synthetic drugs: Australian and international trends

 Synthetic drugs hit the headlines earlier this month following the death of a Sydney teenager who jumped from a third-floor balcony while under the influence of a hallucinogenic substance. They are again in the headlines this week after the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced it had arrested 225 people and seized 1,500 kilograms of synthetic drugs destined for the US and Australian markets. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) admitted in the World Drug Report 2013 that ‘the international drug control system is floundering, for the first time, under the speed and creativity of the phenomenon known as new psychoactive substances (NPS)’.What drugs are we talking about?W... Read more...

Is doping in sport a crime? (doping in sports pt. 5)

The previous FlagPost in this series explored the dual use of evidence in both sports tribunals and criminal proceedings.Whilst it is commonly understood that doping is prohibited in sport, is it also a criminal offence? This FlagPost examines the circumstances in which an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) is also a crime in Australia and the sanctions imposed by the criminal justice system for those offences.  The Criminal Justice SystemUnlike a number of other countries, Australia does not have any sports-specific legislation creating criminal offences specifically relating to doping in sport. However, the Commonwealth, states and territories have all enacted legislation which criminalises... Read more...

‘Ice’ and other amphetamine-type stimulants: international and Australian trends

On 28 February, the Joint Organised Crime Group (comprising the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police, NSW Crime Commission, Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs)) announced it had seized 585 kilograms of ice in Sydney, an Australian record for a single seizure of the drug. The second largest seizure also occurred recently, with 306 kilograms seized by the AFP and Customs in July 2012. This FlagPost puts these seizures in context by examining some recent international and Australian findings on ice and related illicit drugs.What is ice?Ice is a street name for the crystalline form of methamphetamine (other street names incl... Read more...

Latest Illicit Drug Data Report released

The Illicit Drug Data Report produced each year by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) provides a statistical overview of illicit drug arrests and seizures for the financial year and details the current situation, national impact and emerging trends related to illicit drugs in Australia and internationally. The latest report is the ninth in the series, which replaced the Australian Illicit Drug Report from 2002–03. Outlined below is a brief snapshot of some of the key findings of the 2010–11 Illicit Drug Data Report launched by the Minister for Home Affairs on 17 May 2012, with a focus on amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), cocaine and heroin. Overall findings and trends C... Read more...

Ombudsman’s report on covert operations

A report by the Commonwealth Ombudsman on the records of controlled operations held by Commonwealth law enforcement agencies, tabled on 13 March 2012, reveals the Ombudsman has continuing concerns that the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) is bypassing a review mechanism intended to provide appropriate external scrutiny of longer operations.Controlled operations are covert law enforcement operations in which one or more persons are authorised to engage in otherwise unlawful conduct in order to obtain evidence of a serious criminal offence. They enable infiltration of criminal organisations by protecting participants from criminal and civil liability for engaging in certain conduct as a legit... Read more...

Money Laundering in Australia

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) recently published Money Laundering in Australia 2011, a consolidated picture of money laundering activity in Australia, key vulnerabilities and emerging threats. The report is drawn from Australia's first (classified) National Threat Assessment on money laundering, produced as part of the Commonwealth Government's Organised Crime Response Plan. Every year, crimes such as drug importation, fraud, people trafficking, migrant smuggling, corruption and theft generate large amounts of money, usually in cash. Money laundering is the processing of these proceeds of crime to conceal their illegal origin  -- turning "dirty" cas... Read more...

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