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Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Page: 6047

Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (11:29): The Greens will of course support these amendments because, without them, the legislation would be completely redundant. The minister was being a little coy. This is a drafting error that would have invalidated the entire purpose of the bill—just to spell it out. We should all take some responsibility for that, including me. I was part of the inquiry held by the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety so I guess I will shoulder a share of the responsibility for not noticing that the European cybercrime convention and the bill that would enact it into Australian law are in contradiction as it stands.

The European cybercrime convention requires that the signatories apply to serious offences, and that means that the bill as originally drafted would not have complied. It would not have allowed us to accede. So these amendments expand the reach of the bill from offences punishable by imprisonment of three years or more to offences that are a serious offence within the meaning of section 5D of the TIA Act 1979. That was something that was raised by neither the bill's critics nor the committee that considered it. So these amendments correct an error that would have made this entire exercise redundant—much as I must admit I feel like the entire inquiry of the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety has been rendered redundant because the government has barely paid any regard to the amendments that it proposed.

So we will support this amendment. I suspect it was simply an innocent drafting error. Then we will move on to the next substantive Greens amendment.

Question agreed to.