House debates

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

Statements by Members

Forensic Science

1:51 pm

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Home Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

In the short time that I have today, I want to add my voice to those who are advocating for the application of advancements in forensic and genetic science to improve the way investigators solve cold cases and potentially review other cases. I've long been an advocate for science and the immense value new scientific discoveries can deliver. Obviously, the justice system is enhanced by advanced investigative tools that can help provide new insights on the guilt or innocence of individuals. Where such advancements occur sometime after a crime has been committed, their retrospective application, where applicable, is both appropriate and just. Anna-Maria Arabia, chief executive of the Australian Academy of Science, is on the public record as saying, 'It is imperative that we do not miss an opportunity to develop a more scientifically sensitive legal system.' I agree with her.

Conversely, there is a strong responsibility for those who provide forensic evidence to ensure best scientific practice at all times. We have a glaring example of how that can go wrong outlined in the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Forensic DNA Testing in Queensland. I look forward to discussing this issue further in this place when time permits.