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Police Directions to Produce ID or Move-On at Airports

Late last month, Parliament introduced new laws to expand police powers at major airports, including Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport. The Bill introduced by Peter Dutton amends the Crimes Act 1914...

Justin Wong

Late last month, Parliament introduced new laws to expand police powers at major airports, including Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport. The Bill introduced by Peter Dutton amends the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) to include powers to:

  • Direct a person to provide evidence of their identity
  • Give a move-on direction
  • Direct a person to stop if they find it reasonably necessary to facilitate (1) or (2).
  • A direction to do anything else they find reasonably necessary to facilitate (1) or (2).

Failing to comply with any of these directions can lead to a penalty of $4,200.

A police officer can direct a person to provide evidence of their identity or give a move-on direction in the following situations:

  • If they ‘suspect on reasonable grounds’ that a person has or is committing an offence, or intends to do so; or
  • If they ‘consider on reasonable grounds’ the direction necessary to ‘safeguard the public order and safe operation of the airport or another major airport’ in Australia.

Here, the ‘offence’ must be a commonwealth offence or a state offence (with a federal aspect) including a penalty of at least 12 months of imprisonment.

Requirement of Identification

Evidence of identity can be a government issued photographic identity document such as a license or passport. If you do not have government issued ID, you may be required to provide another identity document, and if directed, two different identity documents.

Move-on Directions

A move-on direction requires a person:

  • Not to take a flight from any major airport in a specified period of no more than 24 hours; or
  • To leave the airport altogether and not enter a major airport for a specified period of no more than 24 hours.

If a police officer wants to issue a move-on direction of more than 12 hours they must obtain authorisation from a senior police officer.

Failing to comply with the direction to provide identification can also result in a move-on direction from police.

In Parliament, some concerns were raised about the disproportionate focus these powers may have on particular groups and communities. These new laws undeniably afford police with greater discretionary powers, and should be closely observed by the public in coming months.

If you are charged with an offence at an airport, and want to know more about these directions, call one of our experts on 9025 9888.