Senate debates

Thursday, 20 June 2013


Court Security Bill 2013, Court Security (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2013; Second Reading

1:33 pm

Photo of Gary HumphriesGary Humphries (ACT, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Materiel) Share this | | Hansard source

On behalf of Senator Brandis, shadow Attorney-General, I rise to speak on the Court Security Bill 2013 and associated bill. I indicate that the coalition supports the passage of these bills. They seek to amend current legislative frameworks for court and tribunal security arrangements for all Commonwealth courts, including the Family Court of Western Australia and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The bills expand the range of powers available to security officers and authorised court officers. The legislation removes the courts and tribunals currently covered by the provisions of the Public Order Act and replaces it with an updated security framework.

The Court Security Bill 2013 responds to concerns raised by the heads of jurisdiction of the federal courts that the current Public Order Act does not meet the security needs of the modern court environment. The bill aims to ensure that the courts are able to reduce the risk of security incidents where possible and, if needed, respond appropriately to incidents that do arise.

The consequences of a breach of security in these circumstances is a serious issue. It is vital that all cases before these courts are heard without fear, intimidation and/or violence. It is unclear how frequent security incidents are arising on court premises and how adequate the court security arrangements are, but these bills provide the necessary powers so that the security needs of the modern court environment are sufficient and clear. They ensure that our courts and tribunals are safer and secure places for members of the public to have their disputes heard. I commend the bills to the Senate.

1:35 pm

Photo of Stephen ConroyStephen Conroy (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy) Share this | | Hansard source

I would like to thank senators for their contribution to the debate and support for these important bills. I commend the bills to the Senate.

Question agreed to.

Bills read a second time.