Member for Isaacs

Parliament passes new Court Security Bill

20 June 2013

Legislation to help federal courts and tribunals manage security incidents has passed the Parliament today.

Minister for Emergency Management
Special Minister of State
Minister for the Public Service and Integrity

Parliament passes new Court Security Bill

Legislation to help federal courts and tribunals manage security incidents has passed the Parliament today.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC said the Court Security Bill 2013 clarifies and enhances the powers available to security officers at federal court premises, including the power to request security screening and the deposit of dangerous items for safe keeping.

The Bill also attaches appropriate safeguards to the exercise of these powers including training and licensing requirements and external oversight by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Federal court proceedings, particularly family law proceedings, are often highly charged and sometimes involve hostility and violence, Mr Dreyfus said.

The family law courts, in particular, are frequently required to respond to security threats and incidents.

It is essential for the federal courts to have an effective legislative framework in place to ensure their premises are safe and secure environments for people to have their disputes heard.

Effective court security arrangements are a critical precondition for the effective administration of justice.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney-General, Shayne Neumann said the legislation replaces the current court security framework contained in Part IIA of the Public Order (Protection of Persons and Property) Act 1971.

There is considerable benefit in all court security powers being set out clearly in a consolidated Act, with accompanying safeguards around training and review, Mr Neumann said.

As a former family lawyer I have seen firsthand how important increased security is for the court staff, legal counsel and their clients.

The Court Security Bill is an important measure and will assist the federal courts and tribunals to manage security incidents on their premises.