Explanatory Memorandum (Extracts Only)(Circulated by authority of the Treasurer, the Hon Peter Costello, MP)
General outline and financial impact
This Bill inserts new provisions into the Criminal Code Act 1995 criminalising the smuggling of persons from Australia to another country, or from a country other than Australia to a third country, with or without transit through Australia. Where there is no transit through Australia, the offences will apply where the person who organised or facilitated the smuggling either engaged in that conduct in Australia or is an Australian citizen or resident.
The Bill also contains offences prohibiting making, providing or possessing false travel or identity documents intended for use in securing the unlawful entry of a person into a foreign country. An offence of taking possession of or destroying another person's travel or identity documents is also included.
The people smuggling offences and all but one of the associated document offences are based on the Protocol Against The Smuggling of Migrants By Land, Sea and Air, Supplementing The United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, to which Australia is a signatory.
This Bill also inserts into the Criminal Code two cross-border firearms trafficking offences. The first offence makes it unlawful, in the course of trade and commerce between the States and Territories to dispose of or acquire a firearm, where the disposal or acquisition of that firearm is an offence under a State or Territory law.
A related provision also makes it an offence, in the course of trade and commerce between the States and Territories, to take or send a firearm from one State or Territory to another, intending that the firearm will be disposed of in the other State or Territory in circumstances that would constitute an offence against the firearm law of that other State or Territory.
The Bill also amends existing criminal law and justice legislation. Schedule 3 makes a number of minor amendments to the theft and fraud offences in the Criminal Code , which have now been in operation for over a year. Those amendments resolve some problems with the offences which have emerged during that time. Schedule 3 also amends the sentencing provisions in the Crimes Act 1914 , includes the substance 'fantasy' as a psychotropic drug in the Crimes (Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act 1990 , amends the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997 to clearly define the role of the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and amends the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 to ensure that remittance dealers are covered by the definition of 'cash dealer' in that Act. Schedule 3 also fixes a cross-reference in that Act.
There is no financial impact flowing directly from the offence provisions of this Bill.
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