Thursday, 26 March 2015
Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015; In Committee
Labor will be opposing these amendments for much the same reasons as Senator Brandis outlined. But I should also highlight, in relation to this discussion about trivial offences, that, in the amendments introduced by the government in the House, the new threshold that Labor argued for through the joint committee process with respect to access ensures that gravity is one of the factors taken into consideration. This is a very important point to be made here.
We sought to clarify with the Greens in relation to the Greens amendments essentially the point that Senator Leyonhjelm made earlier, which is that they are indeed identical. Like Senator Brandis, I was somewhat surprised at the Greens' approach in relation to ASIC and the ACCC and we could not get back from the Greens confirmation that they understood that the effect of their amendments was that they would be removing from the list ASIC and the ACCC. If I recall correctly—and sorry if I am verballing you, Senator Ludlam—this issue was not addressed in your comments introducing these amendments. It is quite a serious issue, as highlighted by Senator Brandis. I too read the article in today's Financial Review, but there is another aspect to that article, by Greg Tanzer, that I would like to go to. He reports:
Telecoms data is crucial in combating corporate crime. This sort of information is commonly the first source of important information for further investigations and is frequently used to identify suspected offenders or verify preliminary suspicions. Without this data many offences and offenders would never be detected …
This is a very serious issue. As I said, the amendments to which the government has already agreed through the process of the joint committee and that were dealt with in the House ensure that we are not talking about the trivial matters that Senator Leyonhjelm is referring to. Indeed, in the evaluation process of a request for access, gravity is one of the important factors taken into account.