Senate debates

Thursday, 30 March 2006

Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Bill 2006

In Committee

10:54 am

Photo of Chris EllisonChris Ellison (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Justice and Customs) Share this | Hansard source

There are strict criteria for how a warrant will be issued. What Senator Stott Despoja is doing here is shying at shadows. The bill talks about harm and civil remedy. That is part of this country’s judicial system. You can only get a remedy if you suffer harm. If you suffer no harm at all, you cannot go to court and manufacture a case or an action out of thin air. You have to have suffered a disadvantage, which can be across a range of areas. What we are saying is that, where that harm is evidenced, the civil remedies apply.

If there is an investigation that involves a B-party warrant and nothing comes of it and another person is charged and dealt with and the communication with the B party is never realised, where is the grievance that Senator Stott Despoja is referring to that enables an action for civil remedy? If nothing happens, there should be no action. If there is no disadvantage suffered by the person, there is no civil remedy. We are saying that if there is harm then, sure, you have a civil remedy. You are saying, ‘I might be harmed and don’t know about it.’ With respect, that is a very difficult proposition.

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