Thursday, 25 September 2014
National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014; In Committee
The Greens will be supporting this amendment. Where I disagree with Senator Xenophon is that we are seeking more than a glimmer of transparency. Nonetheless, this amendment is an improvement. It relates to recommendation 5 of the joint committee. I should also identify at this point that, in relation to the joint committee that has provided the source material for so much of this work, the government, when it came to power just over a year ago, moved to eliminate the crossbench position that in recent memory has been filled by Mr Andrew Wilkie. Since then, there has been no crossbench representation on the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. When the time comes to debate the bill the exclusion of the crossbench from that committee means our views have not been included—and then you get dissent in these amendments. The government supported recommendation 5 of the joint committee with respect to material disruption but not with respect to non-routine access. As Senator Xenophon has identified, it is minimalist but it is also very important. I think what Senator Leyonhjelm has done is extend the provisions of the bill so that both the minister and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security need to be notified of instances of material disruption. I think that does at least create a paper trail and a record of exactly what has been done under the use of these powers. I commend this amendment to the chamber.