Federal contempt law debate to resume in the Lower House

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Federal contempt law debate to resume in the Lower House

The proposed industrial contempt laws are listed for debate in the House of Representatives this week.

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The proposed industrial contempt laws are listed for debate in the House of Representatives this week.

The Workplace Relations Amendment (Codifying Contempt Offences) Bill 2003 was introduced at the end of the last sitting of Federal Parliament.

The Bill proposes to codify the following forms of contempt:

  • conduct that contravenes an order of the AIRC;
  • publishing false allegations of misconduct that effect the AIRC; and
  • inducing a person to give false evidence to the AIRC.

The Bill also proposes a fourth offence of giving false evidence. 'This offence is a form of perjury rather than common law contempt and has been included for completeness,' according to Federal Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott in his second reading speech.

The maximum penalty for each offence is 12 months imprisonment or a fine of $6,600 for an individual and $33,000 for a corporation.

According to Abbott, 'Other offences in the Crimes Act 1900 and the Criminal Code will also continue to apply to conduct in relation to the commission - for example, using dishonest means to influence officials performing public duties, interference with witnesses and destruction of evidence.'

'The Bill uses legislative notes to enhance accessibility to these existing offences.'

The Bill also updates penalties in Part XI of the Federal Workplace Relations Act.

For more information go to the Parliament of Australia website.

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