Thursday, 26 March 2015
Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015; Third Reading
Let me repeat that: mandatory data retention is not mass surveillance. And indeed I will pick up on Senator Brandis's interjection there and refer to his earlier comments. That is what Professor Jillian Triggs said in her contribution to this debate.
Information that is recorded is not necessarily accessed. We have built a strong system with checks and balances to ensure we have that balance right. I also will not be verballed. Senator Brandis likes to do that to me, but now it seems Senator Ludlam does as well. I do not appreciate being verballed by Senator Ludlam. I will make it very clear: the Labor Party has not caved in in this matter.
Honourable senators interjecting—
But, Senator Ludlam, I want to be very clear on the record because you were referring to my contribution when you moved very swiftly to that next point. So let us make it very clear: the Labor Party has not caved in on this matter. And, yes, indeed, we do accept that we will be judged as will you and as will all of us in the political arena. We accept that, and we take responsibility for that. We are the alternative government, and we need to be responsible about issues related to national security. We do not accept the bad information and the suggestions that 'there have only been three cases that might relate to national security'. It does you no service to continue to peddle some of that bad information.
What also does you no service is to move amendments such as you did today in relation to the ACCC and to ASIC. It is quite contrary, as Senator Brandis pointed out in the debate, to the usual positions the Greens would take about such crime. I was astounded. I understood why Senator Leyonhjelm did that from his perspective, but for that to come from the Greens was quite astounding.
Let me go back to that point about how Labor purportedly caved in. I know that Senator Ludlam would like to participate in the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. I am not sure about the job application he just did in his third reading speech—I suspect Senator Xenophon's might have been closer to the mark. As Senator Brandis and others indicated, copious work went into this process. In terms of caving in, I would have to say the 74 amendments that were accepted by the government in the debate in the House of Representatives represent the critical concessions that have been made in this debate to build a system that does have integrity and does have balance. I am confident that we have reached that balance. That balance involves not only the protection of privacy but also the protection of our national security.