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Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Page: 6056

Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (11:46): I thank both the minister and the shadow minister for their contributions. I respect that Senator Brandis does not want to prejudice the outcome of a live inquiry, on which I would have preferred to have been the crossbench senator. But, nonetheless, we leave it in the hands of the committee. I have, as I have indicated, made a submission.

I would just like both the minister and the shadow spokesperson to bear in mind then that we think it is appropriate that—from recollection, I believe it is—a seven-year threshold would apply for somebody listening in on your live phone call and we believe that a three-year criminal penalty threshold should apply for somebody reading your email. But for these other vast categories of data we think that no threshold at all is appropriate—or, that is the question that I suppose I am putting to the chamber: why do we privilege those two classes of information to be protected from intrusion by agencies investigating serious matters, and yet for these other categories of data that paint a thorough, complete and intimate picture of your life we do not think there should be any protections at all?

I get the sense that this amendment is going to fail, so I will not detain the chamber any longer; but this matter is going to need to be revisited either through the work of the PJCIS or otherwise. This cannot stand as it is. I commend the amendment to the chamber.