Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Page: 6055


Senator LUDWIG (QueenslandMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Minister Assisting on Queensland Floods Recovery) (11:42): I think I am going to disappoint you again. The difficulty with what you are proposing is, first, that I would never countenance something on the fly where we have not had an opportunity of looking at the implications of it. Reducing it to one year makes you think about what offences might be under that. I know one of them would be the victimisation of a disability, which is around six months. I do not think that that should fall outside of it particularly, but I do not choose that individual one. One of the challenges is that the way a threshold is set is that it operates where there are checks and balances within the independent agency, the Australian Federal Police, when they manage the system through. You have the opportunity at estimates to see how they ensure that they undertake due diligence.

The second, or perhaps the third, issue is that you may start by investigating what might be a low-threshold criminal offence, if I may use that expression, but as you progress through it it may widen. What you would not want to do is to stop it at the early point where, because there was a threshold of one year, information at hand related only to, perhaps, an offence that carried a penalty of less than one year. So the officer then may have considered that there were broader implications but, because the evidence or information to date may stop that, it is finished at that point, which means that there are implications. The reason there is the threshold the way it is written is to ensure that there is not a net—it is not a net in that sense—where things can fall through.

You would want to ensure that for effective law enforcement purposes in meeting our obligations under the cybercrime legislation so that we can accede to the convention and do everything in a way that meets our convention obligations.

I think, though, that the broader issue about whether it be a year, or two years or three years is a relevant consideration for the PJCIS to consider more broadly, bearing in mind that they will also grapple with some of the issues that I have raised about why one year may not work. But I do expect that they will bring more guns to bear on that issue and come up with a recommendation that is workable.