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Opening Statement to the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Police Powers at Airports) Bill 2018

17 October 2018

Gabrielle Bashir SC, Co-Chair, National Criminal Law Committee, Law Council of Australia

"The Bill seeks to amend the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) and the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 (Cth) to allow constables and protective service officers (PSOs) to direct a person to:

a. produce evidence of their identity;

b. leave airport premises and/or not take a specified flight or any flight, for up to 24 hours; and

c. direct a person to stop or do anything else necessary to facilitate an identity check or move-on direction.

The Law Council recognises and accepts that security at airports and on flights is a matter of significant concern to not only the government but also the community. Accordingly, we accept that there must be laws in place to provide police with powers to deal with issues relating to safety and criminal activity at airports and on planes.

However, these laws need to be proportionate and directed to matters relating to safety and criminal activity. Providing powers at large to police which are not tempered by these factors could lead to innocent citizens having their rights interfered with given the broad nature of the discretion given to police.

You can read the full opening statement below.

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