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Progress on Unexplained Wealth bill

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Danielle Blanch, Reporter

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A Bill to help fight the methamphetamine trade and corruption and crime in WA passed the second reading stage in the Legislative Council on 14 September.

Known as the Corruption, Crime and Misconduct and Criminal Property Confiscation Amendment Bill, its aim is to amend current laws in relation to unexplained wealth and other matters, and also amend the Criminal Property Confiscation Act in relation to the role of the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC).

The Bill, if passed, will allow the CCC the same power as the WA Police by giving them the authority to apply for a search warrant and seize property.

The Amendment Bill was sparked by the commitment by the McGowan Government to attack the dealing of methamphetamine.

In the second reading of the bill in the Legislative Council, Minister for Environment Stephen Dawson said, “More than 60% of Australia’s highest risk serious and organised crime targets are involved in the methylamphetamine trade.

“In the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, methylamphetamine is the drug perceived to be of most concern for the general community. The result is that Western Australia is an attractive and profitable market for serious and organised criminals.”

Attorney General John Quigley said in a statement, “It won’t be charged criminals that are called before the CCC to explain their ill-gotten gains; it will be individuals who have put themselves beyond reach of the police and those who have got their profits without getting their hands dirty.

“Serious and organised criminals are motivated by money and the illicit drug market is known to be their main source of profit.”

Peter Argyris Katsambanis, MP for Hillarys, said that the two bills should not be merged as they relate to different issues.

“The second part was completely unrelated to the bill. It sought to address some confusion that has arisen about the privileges of Parliament and the relationship between the CCC and examination of members of Parliament.

“It is a critically important issue that needs to be looked at by the Procedure and Privileges Committee. It should not hold up the passage of the substantive part of the bill to give the CCC powers to investigate unexplained wealth,” he added.

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Progress on Unexplained Wealth bill