House of Representatives

Crimes Act Amendment (Forensic Procedures) Bill (No. 1) 2006

Second Reading Speech

Berowra (Attorney-General)

Second Reading

I present an explanatory memorandum to the bill and move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I am somewhat embarrassed, which is rare, although the shadow minister might think otherwise. At some point I may have some-


-Perhaps I could assist the Attorney-General by giving my speech first while he finds his speech. I must say that on this occasion I have much sympathy with the Attorney, because the times have changed so often for when this bill was going to be on that we had some significant problems ourselves. If you are now in the possession of your speech, I will let-


-The purpose of the Crimes Amendment (Forensic Procedures) Act 2001 was to allow a national DNA database to be established. Various states and territories, however, subsequently expressed concern that under this legislation it is unclear whether they can lawfully transfer DNA profiles from their DNA databases to the Commonwealth. There is also concern about the lawfulness of the Commonwealth disclosing DNA profile information that it holds to the states and territories.

The Commonwealth never held these concerns. However, these amendments to the Crimes Act will clarify for the states and territories that the transfer of information for interjurisdictional DNA matching is lawful. These amendments will go thus some way to allaying the concerns of the states and territories and to encourage all corresponding law jurisdictions within Australia to commit to implementing interjurisdictional DNA profile matching. I commend the bill to the chamber.