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Monday, 26 October 2009
Page: 10837


Mr McCLELLAND (Attorney-General) (12:29 PM) —in reply—I thank members of the House for their contributions to the debate. The contributions of the members who spoke today—the members for Farrer, Cowan and Werriwa—were considered and helpful. The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2009 recognises the important role technology plays in the way we store and exchange information. Passage of the bill will help secure sensitive information from criminal access, protecting Australians from criminal activity and ensuring the integrity of vital infrastructure. For the first time, all Australians will be able to undertake certain activities designed to protect their computer network, without breaching the act.

This is an important step forward which matches the growth in sophisticated attacks with the capacity to defend a network at the earliest possible point. However, network protection activities will only be lawful if they are conducted in accordance with the provisions that are set out in this bill. Network protection activities cannot be undertaken without reason, nor can the information obtained through these activities be used for any other purpose. Rather, the proposed network protection regime maintains the integrity of the interception regime by balancing the need to protect networks from malicious attack with clear limitations on the circumstances in which access, use and disclosure of information will be permitted.

The bill also includes several amendments that will improve the effective operation of the act, ensuring it continues to be clear and relevant. Similarly, the new network protection regime responds to a new and very real threat. By ensuring that network owners can undertake legitimate activities aimed at securing their network and the information it contains, this bill will build Australia’s confidence in and use of the online world.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.