Senate debates

Thursday, 30 March 2006

Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Bill 2006

In Committee

1:06 pm

Photo of Christine MilneChristine Milne (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I rise in relation to the matter the minister just addressed. There was no suggestion whatsoever from the Australian Greens that federal or state members of parliament should be exempt under the law from the investigation of crimes. The issue that I was referring to is whether this B-party interception could be used by a government party to snoop on the affairs of other members of federal and state parliaments. That is the point at issue here. It is not about avoiding appropriate criminal prosecution or investigation.

I agree that everybody should be equal under the law in relation to that matter and that any member of state or federal parliament involved in criminal activity ought to be appropriately investigated. The issue is to what extent members of parliament are able to be satisfied that the government of the day will not use their capacity for this third-party interception to snoop on other members of parliament and their activities. That is what I am asking the minister: what are the guarantees that you will not use this legislation, under the guise of security, to invade the privacy of members of parliament who may, by accident, talk to somebody who might be under investigation in relation to any of these matters?

I would like some assurance from the minister that the government will not, in any way, use this legislation to inappropriately invade the privacy of members of parliament in any other jurisdiction or political party.

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