AU spy agency gets domestic green light.

Matthew X profrv at
Wed Apr 21 23:53:47 PDT 1999

ACC-Australian Crime Commission-new gestapo born in secret.
JOHN Howard has brokered a deal for a new national law enforcement body, 
with two controversial Carr government advisers helping him clinch an 
agreement with the states.

A secret meeting in the Prime Minister's Sydney office on Wednesday sealed 
the fate of the troubled National Crime Authority, and in its place will 
rise the Australian Crime Commission.
The NCA will cease to exist in December, when the ACC will take over its 
coercive hearing and telephone interception powers. Since a falling-out 
last year, Mr Howard has been keen to sideline the NCA.
The ACC will broadly take the form proposed unanimously by the states but 
rejected two weeks ago by the federal Government, with a charter to fight 
organised crime and the emerging threat of terrorism.
The deal was finalised yesterday, following Wednesday's meeting attended by 
three Howard advisers and two proxies for NSW Police Minister Michael Costa 
– academic Richard Basham and former detective Tim Priest.
Another Costa adviser, former NSW Police Internal Affairs commander Geoff 
Schuberg, is expected to become the ACC's director of operations.
The ACC will be chaired by Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick 
Keelty. Its hearings will be conducted by an official chosen from the ranks 
of senior criminal lawyers. Former Queensland crime commissioner Tim 
Carmody is considered a front-runner for the job.
Crucial to this week's deal was the federal Government's concession that 
the ACC will have its own in-house investigative capacity. It will not be 
just an intelligence assessment agency as originally proposed.
In return, the states have agreed to fund the secondment of police from 
their forces to the national body. For the past eight years, the 
commonwealth has footed the NCA's bill.
The states will formally approve the new commission at a meeting of police 
ministers in Sydney on Friday.
Neither federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison nor Mr Costa, who acted as 
negotiator on behalf of the states, would comment yesterday. Spokespeople 
for both ministers would only say discussions this week had been "productive".
Both levels of government have agreed to include ASIO director-general 
Dennis Richardson on the ACC's new board – involving the spy agency in 
domestic crime fighting for the first time.
The commonwealth also has agreed to give up a board spot that was to be 
taken by one of its agencies, meaning voting numbers are split evenly 
between the states and Canberra.
Final details about the ACC's budget and personnel were being finalised 
yesterday, but a plan suggested earlier this week to retain only half the 
NCA's investigators has been dropped.
Mr Basham's and Mr Priest's involvement in the deal comes eight months 
after they joined Mr Costa's inner circle – Mr Basham as an adviser in his 
office and Mr Priest initially as an adviser but now as an informal 
confidant who works out of the University of Sydney's criminology department.
Both had objected vigorously to some senior police management in the NSW 
force, particularly crime management in the western Sydney suburb of 
Cabramatta. In April the contract of a key target, then police commissioner 
Peter Ryan, was terminated.
The ACC will be chartered to attack organised crime in a more vigorous 
manner than its predecessor. Figures provided to the federal Government 
this week showed that the NCA last year achieved lesser results than the 
NSW and Queensland crime commissions.,5744,4830105%255E601,00.html
Police minister is an ex-trot and is on medication for self diagnosed manic 
depresion,kinda reminds me of jamesd...
The very model of the modern major medicated police minister.
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