House debates

Tuesday, 25 August 2020


Law Enforcement Committee; Report

12:04 pm

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On behalf of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement, I present the following reports: Examination of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission's annual report 2018-19 and Examination of the Australian Federal Police annual report 2018-19.

Report made a parliamentary paper in accordance with standing order 39(e).

by leave—I'm pleased to present the committee's report on the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission annual report of 2018-19. The committee acknowledges the work undertaken by the ACIC throughout the year to make Australia safer through improving our national capacity to discover, understand and respond to current and emerging criminal threats. During 2018-19, the ACIC differed from its past approach from having multiple priorities and instead focused its efforts on one priority: disrupting high-priority serious organised crime threats.

While the ACIC noted that this has meant a decline in quantitative results and overall numbers, the committee acknowledges the impacts that this new approach has had which includes the discovery of 95 previously unknown targets; the addition of 12 targets to the Australian Priority Organisation Targets; a release of key reports on gangs, cybercrime and other key crime threats; assistance that led to the seizure of $2.3 billion worth of drugs; and sharing 8,440 information intelligence reports with stakeholders.

The committee also acknowledges in its 2018-19 annual report the ACIC is focused on providing greater detail on the effectiveness of each of its activities. The ACIC noted in its annual report that there are areas for improvement in stakeholder consultation and collaboration. The committee looks forward to reviewing the impact of its improvement efforts in the next annual report. The committee thanks the ACIC for its cooperation during the committee's examination of its report.

Moving to the Australian Federal Police report: I present the report of the Law Enforcement Committee's examination of 2018-19 annual report of the Australian Federal Police. The committee thanks the AFP for the information and annual report and acknowledges the significant efforts of the AFP during 2018-19 in combating transnational crime, drug smuggling, child exploitation and money laundering, and in carrying out its protective services and aviation security.

The AFP's roles in operations such as the Thailand cave rescue and the largest ever seizure of ice, in collaboration with the ABF, are all to be commended. The AFP's overall performance for 2018-19 was positive, and the AFP continues to make significant contributions to the community.

The committee acknowledges the difficulty the AFP faces in measuring and assessing its performance on an annual basis. The AFP's return on investment is impressive, considering that many of the benefits of its work are difficult to capture and quantify. The committee encourages the AFP to continue to seek new ways to measure community confidence and the organisation's broad targets successfully prevented, disrupted and to respond to organised crime.

I would like to add, on the AFP's work, that the AFP and all our police forces throughout Australia enjoy a great deal of respect from the Australian community, and that is incredibly important to the role that they are undertaking. What we are seeing in many other countries with the defund police movement, fortunately, has not come to Australia because of the great work of many generations of police officers, especially in our AFP and throughout our Commonwealth police forces. But this respect in the Australian public is something that cannot be taken for granted.

I would encourage all politicians, both federal and state, to consider when they introduce legislation that requires a police officer to carry out something, how the police will do that and what effect that will have on the trust, confidence and respect of the police in the eyes of Australians. There may be many short-term goals achieved by getting our law enforcement officers to enforce some of these laws. But if, in doing so, they are forced to engage in activity that diminishes that respect and trust the Australian public have in our law enforcement agencies, the overall result will be a detriment to our society. I thank the House.