Additional comments from Senator Sterle and Senator Gallacher

Additional comments from Senator Sterle and Senator Gallacher

1.1        Labor is considering amendments to this Bill. The report on this Bill does not adequately address the adding of a new purpose to the two Acts governing security in the aviation and maritime sectors.

1.2        The report does not allocate significant weight to an examination of this issue. In our view a detailed explanation about how these changes would work on the ground alongside the central task of transport security is not provided in the report.

1.3        Labor supports well targeted measures that address serious and organised crime. Those who use our aviation and maritime transport systems as means to distribute drugs and other contraband into, out of and within Australia commit crimes. Sensible measures to minimise this trade, detect the perpetrators, and bring them to justice are initiatives that Labor will of course support. The report of the National Ice Taskforce, from December last year, was welcomed by Labor.  

1.4        Labor supports a transport security framework that has a clear purpose in its own right. Transport security is a vital mission for government – but it is a qualitatively different task from targeting organised crime in our transport system.  The two Acts subject to change currently target "unlawful interference" in the aviation and maritime sectors. "Unlawful interference" is currently defined in both Acts as being acts that impede the operation of airports, aircraft, ports, offshore facilities or ships or which place the safety of facilities, ships or aircraft at risk - with exceptions for mere advocacy, protest, dissent or industrial action. The current focus is accordingly on targeting behaviour which may cause harm to passengers, crew, aviation and maritime personnel, the general public and damage to property.

1.5        The changes proposed will add a new, secondary purpose to both Acts as per above – and administer this solely through changes to eligibility criteria for existing Aviation Security Identification Cards (ASICs) and Maritime Security Identification Cards (MSICs).  There is a potential risk that widening the purpose of transport security legislation will confuse the two missions of transport security and targeting serious or organised crime in the transport system. Both these tasks are important – the question is whether achievement of both is best done via the mechanism here. Clarity of purpose is a really important issue from a mission perspective, and the main report does not address this issue adequately.     

Senator Glenn Sterle                                                          Senator Alex Gallacher
Deputy Chair

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