NSW Labor push for criminal asset seizures

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Drug kingpins will be the target of legislation the NSW opposition is introducing to seize the assets and unexplained wealth of suspected criminals.

Labor police spokesman Walt Secord will give notice of a motion to introduce a private member's bill in the upper house on Tuesday.

Opposition Leader Chris Minns says it will be a good outcome if the government introduces its own legislation in the next few weeks as well.

The bill will target drug kingpins and their ill-gotten gains rather than users, he says.

"We're hearing firsthand from police officers they don't have the powers to go after the drug kingpins, to hit them where it hurts - which is the unexplained wealth, the Maseratis, the Ferraris the waterfront homes," Mr Minns said on Tuesday.

The bill is yet to be drafted.

The legal community is opposed to the move.

The NSW Bar Association has warned politicians not to rush through ill-considered laws.

The NSW Crime Commission has existing powers to apply for unexplained wealth to be confiscated, it says.

"The community needs to know how it might be said that the existing laws are ineffective at combating organised crime," association president Gabrielle Bashir SC said on Monday.

NSW Law Society president Joanne van der Plaat says any new laws must rely on clear evidence and careful consideration.

"This could require a person who may have absolutely no connection with the drug trade, or any other criminality, to prove their wealth was not the result of criminal activity," she said.

Any proposal that could reverse the onus of proof would be of most concern, Ms van der Plaat said on Sunday.

Mr Minns suggested Western Australia laws inspired the recent push and could help inform the eventual bill.

Western Australia's laws require people perceived to be living well above their means to justify the legitimacy of their financial situation.

Those people are identified by the state's Corruption and Crime Commission, and Mr Minns suggested a similar approach in NSW.

"This is an important measure, it's one we want to see utilised," he said.

He noted the NSW Crime Commission budget has been about the same for a decade.

Premier Dominic Perrottet on Monday said targeting unexplained wealth was complex, and police and the government were working on it.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting