Senate debates

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Bill 2006

In Committee

10:07 pm

Photo of Joe LudwigJoe Ludwig (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

I heard the response in respect of that matter. There are a couple of other matters that I want to deal with before we start on the amendments themselves. One question relates to recommendation 20. The issue there is the government’s view in respect of recommendation 20, in that the committee recommended:

... that the proposed section 46(3) (which contains the requirement that the issuing authority must not issue a B-party warrant unless he or she is satisfied that the agency has exhausted all other practicable methods of identifying the telecommunications services used) be amended to exclude the word ‘practicable’...

However, it comes to mind that there may be some practical, as distinct from practicable, problems with that approach. The essence of recommendation 20 was to ensure that B-party warrants are used as a last resort. I think that was proposed in the government’s explanatory memorandum. As I understand it, with recommendation 20 the committee wanted to ensure that the amendment not only reflected the explanatory memorandum but also ensured that the legislation provided for B-party warrants to be used as a last resort and recorded that.

Labor have not at this stage moved an amendment to delete that. We first wanted to hear the government’s view regarding recommendation 20. We obviously have a little time and, if we see the need to persist with that amendment, we will. But before we consider that we want to see whether the government, in any of its amendments or, subsequently, during any further review, is going to strengthen the last resort provision and whether it sees any difficulty with deleting the word ‘practicable’.

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