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: 6058

Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (11:59): I think this is the first occasion I have had the honour to address you as Acting Deputy President and Temporary Chairman, Senator Sinodinos.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: And I hope you will behave accordingly!

Senator BRANDIS: Indeed I will, having been long accustomed to do so in an earlier age. Once again, Senator Ludlam makes a worthwhile and, if I may say so, considered point. The difficulty, though, Senator Ludlam, is this. What we are dealing with here is a scheme of interjurisdictional cooperation to promote the enforcement of a particular species of law which innately has an international character—that is, cybercrime—and it is inevitable that for such a scheme of interjurisdictional cooperation to be effective it is going to have to involve at the very least the United States and, as well, other countries which have the death penalty including, for example, Japan.

Nothing in this legislation exposes Australian citizens to capital punishment, which seems to be implicit in your objection. If we are going to say we will not participate in interjurisdictional cooperation with any jurisdiction which has the death penalty, then the efficacy of this scheme is going to be defeated. This is an issue—as you know and which you adverted to in your contribution—that the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety addressed. It was addressed in recommendation 6 and that recommendation has been adopted by the government in a proposed amendment which the opposition supports. It means that additional safeguards, including the fiat of the Attorney-General, are necessary in the event that there is to be cooperation with a country in circumstances where potentially the access to this material could—not would, but could—figure in the prosecution of a capital crime.

That seems to me to be a sensible recommendation that does not strike at the efficacy of the scheme. But to go further and to say that we should not cooperate at all with death penalty countries, including countries like the United States or Japan or others which impose the death penalty, really would, I think, thwart or significantly prejudice the capacity of this scheme to operate as an effective transnational scheme. For that reason the opposition will not be supporting your amendments.