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Alexander: What took ya so long, Phil?

Thursday, 23 June 2005

Alexander: What took ya so long, Phil?

The Government's proposed new law to strip criminals of their assets has been a long time coming, United Future law and order spokesman Marc Alexander said today.

"And yes, it bears a striking similarity to my own Member's Bill lodged last year. And most importantly, it's non-conviction based and reverses the onus of proof so gang members have to prove their assets were gained from legal income.

"It's also good that this replaces the Proceeds of Crimes Act - which has been a total waste of time in shutting down criminal activity," Mr Alexander said. "The fact is that criminal convictions haven't been obtained often; there has been lax enforcement and the gangs walk away scot-free. "The main difference from my Bill is that the Goff Bill includes a plan to 'set up an asset recovery team of around 20 staff within the Serious Fraud Office.

"This is a worry because it could create a perverse incentive for the police force, promoting revenue-gathering ahead of the priority of law enforcement activity.

"Instead my Bill would create a new Criminal Assets Recovery Agency, a statutory authority set up for this purpose, with proceedings brought by the Solicitor-General on behalf of the Crown and with proceeds given to organisations that help victims like Victim Support, Sensible Sentencing Trust and Victims Voice.

'Now that Mr Goff has taken up United Future's idea, we'll only be too pleased to fill in the blanks," Mr Alexander said.

ENDS

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