Thursday, 25 September 2014
National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014; Third Reading
I recognise that the hour is late so I will not seek to detain the chamber for long but I want to put some final comments on the record. What we have seen tonight, I think, is an exercise in politics that in some form is actually hundreds of years old. I will explain what I mean by that, but I want to thank my crossbench colleagues from across the political spectrum for providing the only opposition that Australia has tonight. What Senator Brandis proudly summed up as bipartisanship, I would characterise as an absence of critique and opposition at a time when this country desperately needs it.
The Australian Greens will not be voting for this bill, recognising that this is the first in a series of expansions of powers of our covert intelligence agencies, expansion of policing powers. I simply do not believe in and cannot in good conscience vote, particularly in the climate that we are in, for continued relentless expansions of powers for these agencies at a time when the only person who the Australian government had established—the office, obviously, now having lapsed—to investigate whether the laws that we already have are necessary and proportionate has said in many cases that in fact they are not. Instead of taking that advice in a calm and measured way, the government is in fact doubling down and digging us in deeper. As I say, this is politics hundreds of years old. What I mean by that is a quote that resonates for me, from Ben Franklin, who said, 'Those who surrender freedom for security will not have nor do they deserve either one.' I think that is the process that we are engaged in tonight.