THE innocent have nothing to fear from proposed laws to seize wealth that cannot be lawfully explained, Attorney- General Brian Wightman has said.
Legislation to allow the state to seize "unexplained wealth" without proving that it is the proceeds of crime passed the House of Assembly last night.
Mr Wightman said the amendment to the Crime (Confiscations of Profits) Act was intended to target the "Mr Bigs" of organised crime, who often couldn't be linked to the criminal activities that filled their coffers.
It grants the Director of Public Prosecution power to investigate the finances of a person they believe could have unlawful wealth and, if they have a "reasonable suspicion" the wealth was unlawfully obtained, apply to the Supreme Court to have the amount in question paid to the state.
The onus is on the respondent to prove they acquired the money legitimately.
"It is difficult to think of a scenario where a person would not be able to explain how legitimately acquired assets were obtained," Mr Wightman said.
"I am satisfied that with the close supervision of the Supreme Court the unexplained wealth provisions will not affect ordinary citizens who are not criminals and are lucky enough to experience a financial windfall."
Mr Wightman said the law was expected to be self- financing within three to five years.
Greens leader Nick McKim said the public benefit of the legislation was not significant enough to justify reversing the onus of proof.
"I'm not convinced that experience shows that it's the Mr Bigs of organised crime that have been targeted and impacted by this legislation in other jurisdictions," Mr McKim said.
"In fact, in many cases it is the Mr Littles of crime that have been impacted."
Mr Wightman said organised crime cost Australia $15 billion a year and Tasmania did not want to be seen as a "soft target".
The legislation, if it passes the upper house, will be reviewed in three years.