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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Anti-Money-Laundering and Counter Terrorism legislation makes headway despite concerns

Concerns about the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Bill expressed by the Victorian and Federal Privacy Commissioners (see item below) were the tip of an iceberg. The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee report on its inquiry was released on 28 November. Over 40 submissions were also tabled on its website. This report in the Australian summarises some of the concerns.

The legislation itself has wide support given that it would bring Australia into line with the recommendations of an OECD task force concerning anti-money-laundering and counter terrorism safeguards. Its taken 3 years to get to this point. However its all been a bit of a rush in recent weeks with only 3 weeks for submissions and committee consideration.
The Senate Committee supports the Bill but, (in polite language) draws attention to a number of problems with the legislation and makes a series of recommendations for amendments.

The Privacy Impact Statement prepared for the Attorney General's Department by Salinger & Co. has also been posted on the AG's website together with the Department's response. Only 20 of the PIA's recommendations were reflected in the Bill presented to Parliament. The Federal Privacy Commissioner in a supplementary submission supports the major recommendations not acted on by the Government to date, and most of the others. PDF 99KB

The Bill nonetheless passed the House of Representatives without amendment on 28 November and now awaits Senate consideration.

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