Senate debates

Thursday, 30 March 2006

Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Bill 2006

Third Reading

1:58 pm

Photo of Kerry NettleKerry Nettle (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

The Australian Greens oppose this legislation. We believe that it is inconsistent with our obligations under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. It does not strike the right balance between the need to protect national security and to prevent serious crime and the need to protect individual rights to privacy and to freedom. Our concern is that this bill as a whole sacrifices the latter in the current climate of fear and threat of terrorism.

The definitions in this legislation have been described by legal experts such as Professor George Williams as ‘vague’ and ‘allowing for the potential for government agencies to misuse the power or apply it in an arbitrary manner’. The Law Council have said that this legislation means that people suspected of nothing will be under surveillance. They go on to say that this is the first time ever in Australian history that law enforcement agencies will be given the power to intercept telecommunications of people who are not suspects—innocent people. The Australian Greens oppose this legislation.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a third time.

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