Thursday, 26 March 2015
Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015; In Committee
I thank Senator Xenophon for bringing this amendment forward tonight. I can guarantee that this is not the last time that this chamber will deal with the issue of the fact that the Australian government, with the support of the Labor Party, last year sought to effectively criminalise forms of national security reporting. I did not expect Senator Brandis, who was the sponsor of that bill, to have changed his mind, and nothing that he has said tonight has been particularly surprising. The reason that this amendment was brought forward and the reason that the Australian Greens are supporting it is that it gives the Australian Labor Party a chance to do something about the buyer's regret that it suffered last year.
The data retention campaign and bill has been a little bit different, but last year, after the ASIO bill passed, there was a remarkable outpouring of anxiety, concern, alarm and, I would say, regret from some in the Press Gallery and from some in the Australian Labor Party. We are giving you the opportunity tonight to do something with that buyer's regret and fix the mistake that was made when the ASIO bill passed into law last year. I am very pleased to join with my crossbench colleagues in providing the kind of opposition that this country needs on matters such as this and to provide the Labor Party with the chance to do something with some of the concerns that it expressed after it supported Senator Brandis last year.