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ABORIGINAL LAND RIGHTS (NORTHERN TERRITORY) ACT 1976 - SECT 23E

Secrecy

             (1)  Subsection (2) applies to every person who is, or has been:

                     (a)  an authorized person;

                     (b)  a member of a Land Council; or

                     (c)  a member of the staff of a Land Council.

             (2)  Subject to subsection (3), a person to whom this section applies who, either directly or indirectly, otherwise than in the performance of the person's functions or duties as an authorized person, a member of a Land Council or a member of the staff of the Land Council, makes a record of, or divulges or communicates to any person any information concerning the affairs of any other person that has been acquired by the person in the course of performing functions or duties under section 23A, 23B, 23C or 23D is guilty of an offence punishable, on summary conviction, by a fine of not more than 60 penalty units or imprisonment for not more than 12 months, or both.

             (3)  Subsection (2) does not prevent the communication of information or the production of a document by a person authorized by a Land Council for the purpose:

                     (a)  to the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory of Australia in support of an application made by the Land Council under section 4 of the Environment Protection (Northern Territory Supreme Court) Act 1978 ; or

                     (b)  to the Minister, to the Secretary of the Department that deals with matters arising under this Act or to an officer of that Department approved by the Secretary of that Department; or

                     (c)  to a person to whom, in the opinion of the Minister, it is in the public interest that the information be communicated or the document produced.

             (4)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  information is communicated to the person (the first person ) in accordance with paragraph (3)(b) or (ba); and

                     (b)  the information is communicated by a person (the second person ) to whom this section applies; and

                     (c)  the second person acquired the information because of his or her membership of, or employment by, a Land Council or his or her activities as an authorised person; and

                     (d)  the information concerns the affairs of a third person; and

                     (e)  the first person, either directly or indirectly, makes a record of, or divulges or communicates the information to any other person.

Penalty:  30 penalty units or imprisonment for 6 months.

          (4A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (4)(a), (b) and (c).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code .

          (4B)  Subsection (4) does not apply if the first person makes the record, or divulges or communicates the information, for the purpose of advising the Minister in connection with this Act.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (4B) (see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code ).

             (5)  Nothing in this section shall be taken to affect the operation of section 9 of the Ombudsman Act 1976 .

             (6)  In this section, authorized person means an authorized person for the purposes of section 23A or 23C.



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