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Tuesday, 13 June 2006
Page: 151

Senator ABETZ (Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation) (9:34 PM) —Basically two issues have been raised by the honourable senator opposite. With respect to the first one, I understand that Senator Ellison had already given quite an extensive answer to it. I remind the honourable senator that the government does not consider it appropriate for ASIO to give the prescribed authority a copy of the full statement of facts and grounds on which the warrant is based. The prescribed authority does receive a copy of the warrant prior to questioning commencing. Combined with his or her role in oversighting questioning, this is sufficient for the prescribed authority to fulfil its role in supervising the proceedings, including determining whether the continuation of questioning is appropriate.

I indicate to Senator Ludwig that the role of the prescribed authority is not a ‘perfunctory’ role, as I think Senator Ludwig described it. It is a very serious and important role in that it needs to ensure that all the legislative safeguards have been met and it has to indicate to the subject the effect of the warrant and the rights et cetera. To describe it as a perfunctory role is, I think, to do the role of the prescribed authority a disservice.