Bills Digest 101 1996-97 Crimes and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 1996

Numerical Index | Alphabetical Index

This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.


Passage History

Crimes and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 1996

Date Introduced: 4 December 1996
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Attorney-General
Commencement: Royal Assent with the exception of Items 21, 22, 23 and 27 of


The Crimes and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 1996 (the Bill) is an omnibus Bill which will make a number of largely non-contentious amendments to Acts administered by the Attorney-General'sportfolio. Theamendments :

correct anomalies in the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 and Crimes

  • (Superannuation Benefits) Act 1989 in relation to the cancellation of employer funded superannuation benefits;
  • increase the value of a penalty unit in the Crimes Act 1914;
  • permit cost recovery in relation to storage and maintenance of confiscated narcotic-related goods under the Customs Act 1901;
  • correct technical deficiencies in the bail and custody provisions of the Extradition Act 1988;
  • change the requirements for property restrained under the Proceeds of Crime Act1987;
  • introduce a defence ofreasonable corporate precaution for bodies corporate under the Proceeds of Crime Act 1987 and
  • remove the requirement to obtain Ministerial consent to prosecute in several Commonwealth Acts


As there is no central theme to this Bill, a brief background to each major amendment will be outlined below.

Main Provisions

Amendments to the Australian Federal Police Act 1979

Part VA of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 provides for the cancellation of superannuation benefits for AFP members and staff who have been convicted of corruption offencesand sentenced to imprisonment for terms exceeding 12 months. Under the current provisions persons serving concurrent or aggregate sentences which individually do not exceed twelve months cannot lose their superannuation benefits. According to the Minister's Second Reading Speech, the proposed amendments will make a technical amendment to align Part VA of the Act with current sentencing practice.(1) Under proposed section 45(1) a superannuation order may be made if the single sentence or the aggregate sentence in respect of corruption offences exceeds twelve months. Sentences under subsection 20AB(1) of the Crimes Act 1914 which are an alternative to full time incarceration are excluded from these superannuation orders. (Item 1 - Schedule 1).

Amendments to the Crimes (Superannuation Benefits) Act 1989

The purpose of the Crimes (Superannuation Benefits) Act 1989 is to allow courts to order that employer superannuation contributions are not payable to federal employees, judges and members of parliament convicted of corruption offences

Items 10-17 of the Bill amend the Crimes (Superannuation Benefits) Act 1989 and mirror the amendments to the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 discussed above.

Amendments to the Crimes Act 1914

On the recommendation of the Gibbs Committee's Review of Commonwealth Criminal Law, section 4AA was included in the Crimes Act 1914 in 1992 so that the value of all pecuniary penalty provisions in Commonwealth legislation could be expressed in penalty units and therefore adjusted from time to time to reflect current money value. The stated intention of the Review in making the above recommendation was ' amendment of one Act the value of the penalty units specified in any Commonwealth Act or regulation in respect of an offence under that Act or regulation could be varied'.(2)

Item9 amends section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914 to increase the value of a penalty unit from $100 to $110. The increase corresponds to the Consumer Price Index figure of 9.6% for the period between June 1992 and September 1995.(3)

Amendments to the Customs Act 1901

Item 18 inserts new subsection 208DA(3A) into the Customs Act to enable the Commonwealth to recover costs incurred in relation to the transportation and storage of confiscated narcotic-related goods prior to their transfer to the Official Trustee. Narcotic-related goods are defined in section 4 of the Customs Act. They include vehicles and vessels used in drug trafficking. The Official Trustee is responsible for their disposal andalready recovers similar costs under current section 208DA(3).

Amendments to the Extradition Act 1988

Item 19 which amends subsection 15(3) of the Extradition Act aims to correct a deficiency in relation to applications for bail by a person during remand. The proposed section would allow a person who has had a bail application rejected to make a further application if there is evidence of a change in circumstances that might justify bail being granted.

Proposed section 49(2) inserted by Item 20 requires that persons who are believed to have escaped custody must be brought before a magistrate by the arresting police officer. The magistrate must be satisfied that the person has escaped from custody before authorising their return to custody.

Amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 1987

The Proceeds of Crime Act 1984 provides for the confiscation and forfeiture of property of defendants charged with serious offences. Property that remains confiscated or restrained six months after conviction is forfeited automatically to the Commonwealth.

The bill makes two amendments to the Principal Act:

1. If a defendant makes an application for a variation of a restraining or confiscationorder within the statutory six month period, then the proposed section 30A will stay the forfeiture of the restrained property until that application has been determined by the court.

2. Under section 65(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act a body corporate is vicariously liable for the criminal conduct of its directors, servants or agents. Proposed section 65(2) prevents the criminal conduct of directors, servants or agents from being imputed to a body corporate where the body corporate can demonstrate that it took reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence. Similar provisions are found in other Commonwealth legislation.


  1. Second Reading Speech, Crimes and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 1996, House of Representatives, 4 December 1996: 7712.
  2. Attorney-General's Department, Review of Commonwealth Criminal Law, Fifth Interim Report, June 1991: 195.
  3. Second Reading Speech, Crimes and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 1996, House of Representatives, 4 December 1996: 7712.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Mary Anne Neilsen
12 February 1997
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine whether the Bill has been enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further amendments.

IRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents with Senators and Members and their staff but not with members of the public.

ISSN 1323-9031
Commonwealth of Australia 1996

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1997.

This page was prepared by the Parliamentary Library, Commonwealth of Australia
Last updated: 24 March 1997

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