Senate debates

Monday, 3 March 2014


National Security; Order for the Production of Documents

3:52 pm

Photo of Scott LudlamScott Ludlam (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That there be laid on the table by the Attorney General, no later than 2 pm on 6 March 2014, evidence to substantiate the Attorney General's claim to the Senate on 11 February 2014 that former National Security Agency contractor Mr Edward Snowden 'has put Australian lives at risk'.

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Stephen ParryStephen Parry (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Scott LudlamScott Ludlam (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

It is great to have the Attorney-General in the chamber here today. I wonder whether the Attorney-General might rise to the occasion, as it were, and provide us with some information as to why he will not back up on the public record, neither here in this chamber nor even at an estimates committee last week, how he is able to accuse Mr Edward Snowden the whistleblower of being a traitor when he has been neither charged nor convicted of any crime in the United States, when senior US administration figures have been careful not to use that phrase and when he cannot prove or show any evidence whatsoever that Australians have been put in harm's way? Similar claims were put about publisher Julian Assange when the WikiLeaks documents were first put into the public domain. And unless Senator Brandis is about to prove me wrong, we are about to see debate in here closed down.

All I was asking for was evidence to substantiate the claim which Senator Brandis was not able to substantiate in estimates last week. I do not think it is too much to expect that if you make these extraordinary claims that you back them up. (Time expired)

3:53 pm

Photo of George BrandisGeorge Brandis (Queensland, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—What the notice of motion seeks is that I lay on the table evidence supporting claims that I have made that Mr Snowden's disclosures have put Australian lives at risk.

Contrary to what Senator Ludlam has just said, I did provide that information to Senator Ludlam in estimates last week. Senator Ludlam asked me:

What work has been undertaken on the impact on Australia's national security of the revelations of the whistleblower Edward Snowden—in particular, on whether his revelations have placed Australian lives in danger?

…   …   …

What I am particularly interested in is whether you can identify a single individual whose life has been placed in danger.

…   …   …

… I just wonder what particular intelligence you have to hand to contradict that?

To which my reply was:

You asked me if I am aware of particular cases. The answer to your question is yes, on the basis of the intelligence briefings I receive.

Contrary to what Senator Ludlam has said, I have told him the source of my claim. That is the intelligence briefings that I receive— (Time expired)

Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to continue my statement.

Leave not granted.

Photo of Stephen ParryStephen Parry (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the motion moved by Senator Ludlam be agreed to.

Question negatived.