Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 23 September 1997
Page: 6771

Senator MURRAY(6.48 p.m.) —I move:

(5)   Schedule 1, page 13 (after line 10), at the end of the Schedule, add:

52 After paragraph 103(aa)


      (ab)   information about the availability of judges to issue warrants under Part VI and the extent to which nominated AAT members have been used for that purpose, but not including information that would identify a particular judge or AAT member; and

      (ac)   an analysis of any discrepancies in practices involving the issuing of warrants between Judges, former Judges and nominated AAT members; and

53 After section 103


   103A Annual Report for 1999-2000

   (1)   The annual report for 1999-2000 must include a review of the amendments made by the Telecommunications (Interception) and Listening Device Amendment Act 1997 to this Act.

   (2)   For the purposes of the review, the Minister must arrange for a public notice, in plain English, to be published in at least one daily newspaper circulating in each State and Territory, calling for submissions from the public on the operation of amendments providing for the issuing of warrants by nominated AAT members, and including an address to which submissions may be sent.

This amendment will add to the reporting functions under the main act so as to include, on an ongoing basis, the issue of the availability of judges. I draw to the Senate's attention that we have not seen—but perhaps other parties have—any correspondence from the federal judges stating that they will not carry out these functions. We rely therefore on the word of the minister to spell out these things. Perhaps my adviser has seen that correspondence, but I have not seen it.

I am also of the belief that the judges' decision is not a permanent and irrevocable one. I understand once again the Labor Party's view that, if the judges were given sufficient resources, they would carry out their functions as they did formerly. I do not know whether that is true or not. Only the judges can tell us that.

This amendment adds to the public confidence arguments. We think it adds to accountability and transparency issues and it includes the provision of a public report enhancing those elements. Simply put, it indicates annually the state of play on the availability of judges, which is a matter of great concern to the community.