Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by authority of the Attorney-General, the Honourable Philip Ruddock, MP)
Law and Justice Legislation Amendment (Marking of Plastic Explosives) Bill 2006
The Law and Justice Legislation Amendment (Marking of Plastic Explosives) Bill 2006 (the Bill) seeks to give effect to the Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection (Montreal, 1991) (the Convention). This will enable the Government to accede to this Convention.
The Convention arose as a consequence of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988. It was drafted and is administered by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The Convention opened for signature in Montreal on 1 March 1991 by States participating in the International Conference on Air Law held at Montreal from 12 February to 1 March 1991 (Article 13.1). The Convention has been in force since 21 June 1998 and as at March 2006, had 123 Parties.
The Convention is one of the final United Nations counter-terrorism instruments to be acceded to by Australia. Accession to the Convention will signify Australia's continued strong commitment to combat the threat of terrorism both within and outside Australia.
The Convention aims to deter the misuse by terrorists, of plastic explosives, by requiring that a detection agent or odourant, be incorporated into the manufacture of plastic explosives.
The Convention obliges State Parties to take necessary and effective measures to prohibit and prevent the manufacture in its territory, the movement into or out of its territory, and the possession and transfer, of unmarked plastic explosives.
This Bill proposes to insert new offences into Chapter 4 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 entitled, 'The integrity and security of the international community and foreign governments'. Consistent with the general approach of the Criminal Code, the amendments will assemble these serious offences in the central statute.
The Bill makes it an offence to manufacture, import, export, traffic in, or possess plastic explosives which have not been marked with a detection agent as prescribed within the terms of the Technical Annex to the Convention.
The Bill however provides exemptions to the main offences, where the plastic explosives are manufactured or held in limited quantities for use in authorised research, development and testing of plastic explosives, for forensic science purposes and authorised training exercises, or where the plastic explosives are destined to be incorporated into an authorised military device within three years from the date of the Convention's entry into force for Australia.
The Bill adheres to the Convention in providing that existing stocks of unmarked plastic explosives may be used up within three years from the date of the Convention's entry into force.
Consistent with the Convention, is the provision in the Bill, which provides that the unmarked plastic explosives manufactured and held for authorised defence purposes, and not incorporated into an authorised military device shall be used, destroyed, marked or rendered permanently ineffective, within fifteen years from the date of the Convention's entry into force.
The Bill preserves the existing powers of law enforcement officers, including Customs officials and the Australian Federal Police, in relation to terrorism offences.
The Bill is not intended to override any existing State or Territory legislation or offences dealing with plastic explosives.
Abbreviations used in the Explanatory Memorandum
Convention Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection (done at Montreal, 1991)
|AAT||Administrative Appeals Tribunal|
|AFP Act||Australian Federal Police Act 1979|
|ASIO Act||Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979|
|Crimes Act||Crimes Act 1914|
|Criminal Code||Schedule to the Criminal Code Act 1995|
|Customs Act||Customs Act 1901|
|Foreign Evidence Act||Foreign Evidence Act 1994|
|Surveillance Devices Act||Surveillance Devices Act 2004|
|TI Act||Telecommunications (Interception) Act 1979|