Senate debates

Thursday, 30 March 2006

Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Bill 2006

In Committee

11:24 am

Photo of Natasha Stott DespojaNatasha Stott Despoja (SA, Australian Democrats) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—I move Democrat amendments (11) to (17) standing in my name:

(11)  Schedule 1, item 9 page 37 (line 26), omit “year.”, substitute “year; and”.

(12)  Schedule 1, item 9, page 37 (after line 26), at the end of subsection 162(1), add:

             (c)    the number of warrants issued in relation to applications that the agency made during that year, where the warrant specified conditions or restrictions under subsection 118(2); and

             (d)    the categories of serious contraventions to which the applications related; and

             (e)    the number of warrants that permitted:

                   (i)    1 telecommunications service to be accessed; and

                  (ii)    2 to 5 telecommunications services to be accessed; and

                 (iii)    6 to10 telecommunications services to be accessed; and

                 (iv)    more than 10 telecommunications services to be accessed.

(13)  Schedule 1, item 9, page 38 (line 1), omit “renewal applications”, substitute “further warrant applications”.

(14)  Schedule 1, item 9, page 38 (line 6), omit “warrants.”, substitute “warrants; and”.

(15)  Schedule 1, item 9, page 38 (after line 6), at the end of subsection 162(2), add:

             (c)    the number of warrants issued in relation to applications that the agency made during that year, where the warrant specified conditions or restrictions under subsection 118(2); and

             (d)    the categories of serious contraventions to which the applications related; and

             (e)    the number of warrants that permitted:

                   (i)    1 telecommunications service to be accessed; and

                  (ii)    2 to 5 telecommunications services to be accessed; and

                 (iii)    6 to 10 telecommunications services to be accessed; and

                 (iv)    more than 10 telecommunications services to be accessed.

(16)  Schedule 1, item 9, page 38 (line 14), omit “evidence.”, substitute “evidence; and”.

(17)  Schedule 1, item 9, page 38 (after line 14), at the end of section 163, add:

             (c)    how many of the proceedings described in paragraph (b) above resulted in a conviction; and

             (d)    how many of the arrests made during that year were made on the basis of information obtained in accordance with a stored communications warrant issued in relation to a serious offence; and

             (e)    how many of the arrests made during that year were made on the basis of information obtained in accordance with a stored communications warrant issued in relation to an offence, not being a serious offence, which is punishable by imprisonment; and

              (f)    how many of the arrests made during that year were made on the basis of information obtained in accordance with a stored communications warrant issued in relation to a civil contravention.

These amendments also go to the issue of annual reports and move to ensure that more specific information is required of agencies that have access to the stored communications regime when they are compiling their annual reports for parliament. Some of the information required is the number of warrants issued; the specified conditions or restrictions in the warrant; the categories of offences they were used to combat; and the number of telecommunications services accessed under the warrant. Again, transparency and specificity should be contained in the report.

Reporting to the parliament, we believe, is a crucial component for accountability. Information that would be reported to the parliament under this amendment would ensure that members of parliament are aware of the frequency—or, indeed, infrequency—as well as what manner the warrants regime is being used for and for what purposes. In a democracy, I think this is a basic measure and one that we should support.

Looking at the further amendments contained on this sheet, amendment (13) seeks to correct a drafting error contained in section 162. Section 119(5) requires that no stored communications warrants be issued within three days of a previously issued stored communications warrant. As such, any further applications will not be renewal applications but rather further warrant applications.

Amendments (14) to (17) move to amend the annual reporting procedures. They will require more information to be presented to the parliament so that the number of warrants issued can be monitored. Again, we think this is an important part of accountability in this democratic process and something that I would have thought all members of parliament would be interested in and supportive of.

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