AU spy agency gets domestic green light.
profrv at nex.net.au
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.
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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