Second Reading

Resumed from 11 November.

Comments and speeches by various members  

Hon NICK GOIRAN: Now is probably a timely opportunity for us to progress the amendment to clause 3 standing in my name. Before I move it and provide some explanation to members, I indicate that if this amendment were to pass, I have been provided with a useful motion that could be moved without notice to enable the Committee of the Whole House to proceed with all the remaining amendments in my name on the supplementary notice paper to be dealt with as one question. But far be it for me to put the cart before the horse. First of all, we need to see what everybody thinks about this issue of oversight. To facilitate that, I move —

Page 2, after line 12 — To insert —

CCC means the Corruption and Crime Commission established under the Corruption, Crime and Misconduct Act 2003 section 8(1);

Comments and speeches by various members  

Hon ALISON XAMON: I rise to indicate that the Greens will not support this amendment, but I want to put on the record why that is the case. The one thing that I think all members in this place are in agreement on is the need to ensure that we have appropriate oversight of the way that this legislation will be enacted. I think there is a very big concern to ensure that that occurs. Under this bill, the Ombudsman is being given the duty and the necessary powers to monitor. I note the member’s comments that whether we replace the Ombudsman with the CCC has been presented as a binary choice.

The CCC should be very carefully monitoring the intersection between the police and organised criminals anyway, because it is a corruption risk and we know that. That is already within the scope of what the Corruption and Crime Commission is able to do. It is not only able to do that, but should be doing that, because it is, effectively, the CCC’s role. As Hon Nick Goiran has pointed out, the CCC should be prioritising looking at police issues because, as was laid out in the last report tabled by the Joint Standing Committee on the Corruption and Crime Commission, if the CCC is not oversighting the police, who can? The CCC has an act and powers that equip it to do that. If Hon Nick Goiran had changed the amendment to specify requiring the CCC as well as the Ombudsman to monitor for the purpose of addressing the corruption risk, I would not necessarily have an objection, but that is not the amendment that is in front of us today.

The monitoring envisaged by this bill is not aimed at preventing crime and corruption. It is, or at least should be, about the quality of the administration. As such, that is the proper role of the Ombudsman. I again note that in other jurisdictions, it is the Ombudsman who is used for scrutiny. I think it would be a mistake to simply replace the Ombudsman with the CCC. The CCC should be paying very close attention to this anyway. If the amendment had said “including the CCC”, I would have had a different view, but, as presented, the Greens will not be supporting this amendment.

Comments and speeches by various members  


Amendment put and a division taken, the Deputy Chair (Hon Adele Farina) casting her vote with the noes, with the following result —

Ayes (15)

Noes (15)

Amendment thus negatived.

Comments and speeches by various members  

Clause 6: Objects of Act —
: I move —

Page 6, after line 22 — To insert —

(2) Without derogating from subsection (1), it is not the intention of Parliament that the powers in this Act be used in a manner that would diminish the freedom of persons in this State to participate in advocacy, protest or dissent that is not intended —

(a)  to cause a person’s death;

(b)  to cause serious physical harm to a person;

(c)  to endanger a person’s life, other than the life of the person participating in the advocacy, protest or dissent; or

(d)  to create a serious risk to the health or safety of the public.

As I indicated in my second reading contribution, there is acknowledgement that the bill explicitly protects one form of communication in governmental and political matters because it includes the defence at clause 9 that relates to the context of industrial action by members of registered unions. I am concerned that there is no defence or exclusion in the bill for other forms of advocacy, protest and dissent. I point out that ordinarily these actions, as well as industrial action, are expressly protected by WA legislation and to not have that protection in this bill is a substantial departure from what we consider to be usual.

A number of bills include this exception. The Criminal Organisations Control Act 2012 has a double protection because it specifically states that the powers in the act cannot be used in a manner that diminishes the freedom of persons to participate in advocacy, protest or dissent. It also refers to the importance of being able to continue to participate in lawful political protest and lawful industrial action. The out-of-control gathering provisions in the Criminal Code have an exclusion for gatherings that are primarily for the purposes of political advocacy, protest or industrial action.

Committee interrupted, pursuant to standing orders.


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