Chapter 1



1.1        The Crimes Legislation Amendment (International Crime Cooperation and Other Measures) Bill 2016 (the bill) was introduced into the House of Representatives on 23 November 2016 by the Minister for Justice and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism, the Hon Michael Keenan, MP.[1] On 1 December 2016, the Senate referred the bill to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee (the committee) for inquiry and report by 16 February 2017.[2] The reporting date was extended until 23 March 2017 to allow for a response to questions on notice provided to the Australian Federal Police.

1.2        The Senate Selection of Bills Committee noted that the bill updates 16 different Commonwealth Acts:

Given the complexity and volume of amendments to Commonwealth legislation contained in the Bill, it would be appropriate to refer the Bill to committee for careful consideration.[3]

Conduct of inquiry

1.3        In accordance with usual practice, the committee advertised the inquiry on its website and wrote to relevant organisations inviting written submissions by 13 January 2017. The committee received six submissions; these are listed at Appendix 1. The committee thanks the organisations that contributed to this inquiry.

Purpose and background

1.4        The purpose and policy background to the bill is described in the second reading speech. The Minister noted that the government keeps the criminal justice framework under constant review to ensure that '...policies, frameworks and laws...[are] well equipped for the job of tackling crime' in order to ensure '...the right balance between protecting fundamental rights, while ensuring justice is served'.[4]

1.5        The purpose of the bill is stated as being to '...enhance Australia's position globally in the fight against crime, making improvements to our international crime cooperation arrangements, and our ability to assist international courts and tribunals'.[5]

1.6        The bill has several amendments that contribute to its purpose. These include, for example, to improve the Commonwealth's anti-human trafficking and slavery regime, increase protections afforded to vulnerable witnesses, strengthen the Commonwealth's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws, improve the government's ability to address national security and safety risks at large-scale events, and enhance the Australian Federal Police's capacity to address instances of serious misconduct or corruption in its workforce.[6]

Overview of the bill

1.7        The size and scope of the bill was noted by the Minister: describing it as a 'comprehensive bill—11 schedules in length—which contains a range of measures that will strengthen the Commonwealth's already robust criminal justice arrangements'.[7] The bill seeks to amend the following Commonwealth legislation:

1.8        More specifically, the measures seek to enhance Commonwealth criminal justice law and policy to:

Structure of this report

1.9        There are two chapters in this report.

1.10      Chapter 1 provides details of the bill and briefly discusses its policy background and purpose.

1.11      Chapter 2 discusses the key issues raised in submissions and provides the committee's recommendations.

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