Senate debates

Thursday, 6 December 2018


Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018; Second Reading

6:38 pm

Photo of Richard Di NataleRichard Di Natale (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Let me tell you about Mr Collaery. Mr Collaery knows better than anyone else how dangerous the granting of powers like this can be. Just think about this: Bernard Collaery was the victim of a remarkable attack by intelligence agencies. This was the illegal bugging of East Timor, our poorest neighbour. This was done so that they could get a commercial benefit. This is what he said:

Australian politicians, alone now among the enlightened democracies in Western Europe, the United States and Britain, legislate powers to intelligence agencies without reserving the slightest right to supervise operational use of such potentially intrusive powers. Labor, by omission and lack of courage, is about to give unaccountable persons we don't know further carte blanche powers over our freedoms.

'By omission and lack of courage'—that's what we're seeing right now. He went on to say:

This time around, when the inevitable excesses come to light, hopefully before an Integrity Commission, we may say that institutionally Federal Labor was complicit, not just 'unaware' as Mr Dreyfus has been explaining away his role or lack thereof in 2013.

We're handing over more of our civil liberties to unaccountable agencies and attorneys-general from both parties, who have proven themselves prepared to bug and prosecute anyone who dares expose their breaches of power. This is what governments have done! Attorneys-general from both the Liberal and Labor parties have shown that they're prepared to bug and prosecute people who expose them for what they do. Why are we doing this, especially in a week when the High Court has exposed and condemned the misuse of power that jeopardised the rule of law in Victoria?

Let's look at what has happened just in Victoria this week. It's absolutely remarkable stuff! These amendments will allow state and territory police forces to utilise the powers of this bill. But in the most egregious act of self-interest, the two parties have agreed to exclude state anticorruption bodies.


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