Thursday, 30 March 2006
Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Bill 2006
I acknowledge the robbery analogy that Senator Ludwig uses, but I think that falls down when we are talking about nonsuspects. In relation to any kind of prejudice of investigations, I want to put on record again that these amendments deal very clearly with the notion that a chief officer does not have to notify if there is any sense that that would be prejudicial to the investigation in relation to which the warrant is sought.
I want to make very clear that, if I am the subject of any telephone interceptions or what have you, I would like to know about it, especially if that material is not used in evidence or is considered irrelevant. I still want to know, and I would imagine that most Australian citizens would want to know too, especially if they felt that they were aggrieved or harmed in some way, whatever way that may be, so that they could actually access the civil remedies that are available under the bill. I think that is a pretty clear position, and I am very disappointed that these amendments will not be passed, but I read the numbers.
by leave—I move Democrats amendments (7) to (9) on sheet 4869:
(7) Schedule 1, item 9, page 27 (lines 8 to 26), omit subsection 139(3), substitute:
(3) A contravention to which this subsection applies is a contravention of a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory that is a serious offence.
(8) Schedule 1, item 9, page 27 (line 29), omit “paragraph (3)(a) or (b)”, substitute “subsection (3)”.
(9) Schedule 1, item 9, page 28 (lines 1 and 2), omit paragraph 139(4)(e).
These amendments seek to maintain the threshold for information obtained under a stored communications warrant at three years so that it may not be used in investigations of offences punishable by 12 months or for investigations which involve civil penalty units or regimes. It is inappropriate for Commonwealth bodies such as the Australian Taxation Office and ASIC to have the ability to access stored communications in a covert manner in order to investigate offences punishable by civil penalties. As I have argued previously, interceptions of stored communications are as invasive as interceptions of live communications, so obviously these amendments are intended to add some restrictions in dealing with those stored communications.