Senate debates

Thursday, 30 March 2006

Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Bill 2006

In Committee

12:28 pm

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

I want to put on the record the Australian Greens’ opposition to schedule 2 as it stands. I will be supporting subsequent amendments and opposing the schedule as a whole because it does not draw an appropriate balance between security issues and privacy and basic freedoms.

Third parties having their phones tapped and emails read without their consent or knowledge simply because they contact somebody who government security agencies have an interest in is completely inappropriate in a democratic society. Innocent people who are unlucky enough to communicate by phone or email with someone suspected of a crime or of being a threat to national security are going to find themselves, without their knowledge, under this kind of scrutiny. I find that excessive.

We have to have security laws, but under these security laws everyone, including the tax office, will be able to trawl through the private emails, SMSs and phone conversations—and everything else—of people who have no idea that that is happening to them, and I find that appalling in supposedly a free country. That is the view that the Australian Greens take in relation to this. We do not believe that the government and its agencies should have the power to intervene with third parties in this way.

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