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Friday, 28 November 2003
Page: 18344

Senator GREIG (9:36 AM) —by leave—I move Democrat amendments (8) and (9):

(8) Schedule 1, item 72, page 26 (line 23), omit “questions put”, substitute “questions that are relevant to the investigation put”.

(9) Schedule 1, item 72, page 26 (line 24), omit “documents requested”, substitute “documents that are relevant to the investigation requested”.

These final Democrat amendments go to the heart of recommendation 4 from our minority report, namely, that the bill be amended to require that search and seizure warrants expressly indicate what items or types of files may be searched or seized. The amendments complement and work in relation with Democrat amendments (1) and (3), which we have previously dealt with. These amendments, like our attempt to have warrants specify exactly what investigators are looking for, are primarily targeted towards preventing what we might describe as fishing expeditions.

As it currently stands, the bill adds a new subsection (1)(a) to section 549 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 and it requires that a person under investigation answer any questions or produce any documents requested by the investigator. Our amendments will ensure that inspectors may only ask questions or request documents that are relevant to the investigation, and this is important. The powers of the investigator are too broad and they need to be tightened to protect the rights of those under investigation. Amendments (8) and (9) insert the relevant words into clause 72 of schedule 1 to ensure that only those questions or documents that are specifically relevant to the investigation can be put or requested.