Monday, 26 May 2008

Hansard 2008-05-09 Police Integrity Bill

The Legislative Council voted 20 to 18 to decline to pass the Victorian government's Police Integrity Bill and voted to refer it to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee for further investigation and consideration.
Peter Kavanagh’s support for referral to Committee motion for was crucial to its passage.
Peter Kavanagh MLC for Western Victoria expressed concern in Parliament that the aims of the Bill do not go far enough - that an Anti-Corruption Commission is needed. Mr Kavanagh also expressed concerns about two particular aspects of the Bill as detailed below:

Activity: Second Reading
Members: Peter Kavanagh
Date: 9 May 2008
Page: 1665

Page 1665


Second reading

Mr KAVANAGH (Western Victoria) -- I want to mention a few concerns about the bill and support its referral to the committee. The Police Integrity Bill is intended to improve measures that can be taken against police corruption in this state. The main general concern of the community is that perhaps the bill does not go quite far enough, and many people support the establishment of a broader anticorruption commission.

Indeed even in hearings of the Select Committee on Public Land Development we have had people calling for a broader commission because of concerns about some dealings at local council level about public land.

In addition to that, I have two particular concerns about the bill which I would like to state for the record. They are about the bill's provisions requiring self-incrimination in certain circumstances and the restrictions on the ability of accused persons to cross-examine on documents that are being used against them.

In respect of self-incrimination, such a provision would be prohibited in the United States by the fifth amendment to the constitution, which prevents any court or similar body from requiring people to incriminate themselves in any criminal matter in the United States of America.

While we do not have such a constitutional provision in Australia, traditionally it has been regarded as an important aspect of our civil liberties that people should not, generally speaking, be forced to incriminate themselves except in particular circumstances -- under for example, the .05 blood alcohol level legislation and commonwealth tax law.

In respect of cross-examination, this is a primary means that we have in our legal system of testing prosecution evidence. Indeed in many circumstances it is the only means we have of testing evidence. It would be a grave step to withdraw the right of cross-examination from a defendant, and we should be loath to do so and very careful in taking such a step. For both of those reasons -- concern over self-incrimination and cross-examination -- I will support the motion to have the bill considered in detail by committee.

…The Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee in this case, and I request that it gives its opinion on these aspects of the bill.

Motion agreed to.

Read second time.

Referral to committee

House divided on amended motion:

Ayes, 20
Kavanagh, Mr (Teller)

Noes, 18


Drum, Mr
Pulford, Ms

Amended motion agreed to.


Peter Kavanagh MLC
Member for Western Victoria
Parliament of Victoria

"La Cabine"
2nd Floor
1 Yarra Street
Geelong VIC 3220

Ph: 03 5222 1503
Fax: 03 5222 8677


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