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Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Page: 6053

Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (11:34): Minister, can you describe for us why the government believes it is appropriate for these enormous volumes of data to be disclosed not just to ASIO and not just to the AFP but also to welfare agencies, the tax office and all the other agencies that are listed on the TIA's annual report? Why should there be no penalty threshold or no reason or cause given? I asked the Federal Police in the estimates round before last, and they did me the courtesy of tabling the application documents that their officers need to go through in order to access this data. There are four different forms. There are several hundred officers within the AFP who are authorised. It is not going to a magistrate. There is no independent judicial oversight. A quarter of a million of these requests were made with no criminal activity needing to be accused or alleged. Can you explain why you think it is fine that this gigantic loophole is allowing such a broad range of agencies to snoop on the Australian population and why you would oppose an amendment that would at least require some criminal activity to be alleged? We think it is good enough for our phone calls to be listened to that a seven-year-penalty threshold should apply. Why for detailed locational tracking data do we think no penalty needs to apply at all and no crime needs to be alleged? How on earth is that justified by this government?