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Thursday, 14 March 2002
Page: 744


Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) (10:18 AM) —I move:

That these bills be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speeches incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speeches read as follows

SECURITY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (TERRORISM) BILL 2002 [No. 2]

The Security Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Bill 2002 is part of a package of important counter-terrorism legislation designed to strengthen Australia's counter terrorism capabilities.

Since September 11 there has been a profound shift in the international security environment.

This has meant that Australia's profile as a terrorist target has risen and our interests abroad face a higher level of terrorist threat.

Australia needs to be well placed to respond to the new security environment in terms of our operational capabilities, infrastructure and legislative framework.

This package, and other measures taken by the Government, are designed to bolster our armoury in the war against terrorism and deliver on our commitment to enhance our ability to meet the challenges of the new terrorist environment.

The first element of this package—The Criminal Code Amendment (Anti-hoax and Other Measures) Bill 2002—was introduced last month.

Today I introduce the Security Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Bill 2002, and three other Bills that make up the legislative package: the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism Bill; the Criminal Code Amendment (Suppression of Terrorist Bombings) Bill 2002; and the Border Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2002. Next week I will be introducing a further element of the package—a Bill to enhance the ability of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to investigate terrorist related activity.

The Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism Bill will enact a terrorist financing offence and the mechanisms necessary to enhance the sharing of financial transaction information with foreign countries.

The new offence will be in line with the requirements of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

The Criminal Code Amendment (Suppression of Terrorist Bombings) Bill 2002 will implement the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings in Australian domestic law.

The Border Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 will increase our national security by introducing further measures to protect our borders.

The Security Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Bill 2002 (The Terrorism Bill)

The Terrorism Bill introduces a number of new offences for terrorist related activities that are not caught by existing legislation.

It has been prepared in response to the changed security environment since September 11.

September 11 is a stark example of the horror and devastation that can be caused by acts of terrorism.

Terrorism has the potential to destroy lives, devastate communities and threaten the national and global economy.

For these reasons this Government has re-affirmed its commitment to combating terrorism in all its forms.

We join with the international community in condemning the 11 September attacks and other terrorist activities.

Other like minded countries have passed, or are in the process of passing, anti-terrorism legislation designed to assist in this fight.

Consequently, counter-terrorism legislation and proposals throughout the world have been considered in the preparation of this Bill.

Terrorism offences

Schedule 1 to the Bill will establish a new general offence of engaging in a terrorist act.

Various related offences, such as providing or receiving training for terrorist acts, directing organisations concerned with terrorist acts, and possessing things connected with terrorist acts, are also included in the Bill.

All terrorism offences will carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

`Terrorist act' is defined to mean a politically, religiously or ideologically motivated act that involves serious harm to a person, serious damage to property, endangering a person's life, creating a serious health or public safety risk or seriously interfering with an electronic system.

This definition is intended to capture such acts as suicide bombings, chemical or biological attacks, threats of violence and attacks on infrastructure.

To reflect the severity of these offences, they will attract a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

At the same time, this Bill protects the existing rights of law-abiding Australians.

The Bill makes it clear that a terrorist attack does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent or industrial action.

Treason Provisions

Schedule 1 to the Bill contains a new treason offence to replace the existing treason offence in section 24 of the Crimes Act 1914.

This will be inserted in the Criminal Code Act 1995.

The new provision modernises the wording of the treason offence and removes gender-based limitations.

The Bill also includes a new ground on which a person can be convicted of the offence.

Under this new ground, the offence will be made out if a person engages in conduct that is intended to assist and does assist another country or an organisation engaged in armed hostilities against the Australian Defence Force.

These amendments are designed to ensure that the offence of treason reflects the realities of modern conflict, which do not necessarily involve a declared war against a proclaimed enemy that is a nation state.

The penalty for the offence of treason remains life imprisonment.

Proscribed Organisations Provisions

Schedule 1 to the Bill also contains proscribed organisations provisions to be inserted into the Criminal Code.

These provisions provide an effective and accountable mechanism for the Government to outlaw terrorist organisations and organisations that threaten the integrity and security of Australia or another country.

The proposed provisions give the Attorney-General the power to make a written declaration that one or more organisations are proscribed.

However, objective, reasonable grounds must be made out before an organisation may be proscribed.

The Attorney General must be satisfied, on reasonable grounds, of one or more of the following matters.

First, that the organisation was committing or had committed a Commonwealth terrorism offence.

Second, that a member of the organisation was committing or had committed a Commonwealth terrorism offence on behalf of the organisation.

Third, that the declaration is appropriate to give effect to a finding of the United Nations Security Council that the organisation is an international terrorist organisation.

Fourth, that the organisation is likely to endanger, or has endangered the security or integrity of the Commonwealth or another country.

The Attorney-General will have an express power to rescind such a declaration.

A declaration of a proscribed organisation will not take effect until gazetted and will be the subject of a notification in newspapers circulating in each State and mainland Territory.

The Attorney-General's decision to proscribe an organisation is subject to judicial review under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977.

It will be an offence to direct the activities of, receive funds from, make funds available to, be a member of, provide training to, train with, or assist a proscribed organisation.

The maximum penalty will be 25 years imprisonment.

There are two defences to ensure that those who are genuinely innocent of any complicity will not be convicted.

The defendant will have to establish the defence on the balance of probabilities.

Placing the onus on the defendant is justified by the need for strong measures to combat organisations of this kind, and the fact that a declaration that an organisation is a proscribed organisation will not be made lightly.

It will be a defence to prove no knowledge and no recklessness as to the existence of any of the grounds on which the organisation could potentially have been proscribed.

To the charge of being a member, it will also be a defence to prove that all reasonable steps to cease membership were taken as soon as the organisation was proscribed.

Aircraft Security Officers

Schedule 2 to the Bill amends the Australian Protective Service Act 1987 and the Crimes (Aviation) Act 1991 to ensure that the Australian Protective Service is able to provide a full and effective service in relation to combating terrorism.

The Bill includes provisions to enable the members of the Australian Protective Service to exercise their powers of arrest without warrant in relation to the proposed terrorism and terrorist-bombing offences.

This will mean that when members of the Australian Protective Service are performing their protective and security function, they are fully empowered to act to prevent or respond to a terrorist attack.

The Bill also includes provisions to ensure that the air security officer program, which is currently a function of the Australian Protective Service, is able to operate on all Australian civil aircraft.

Currently members of the Australian Protective Service who are providing this important air security capability are unable to exercise their powers of arrest without warrant on flights that operate purely within a State.

Such flights have traditionally been the subject of State jurisdiction and the amendment will not change this position.

However, if an aircraft is hijacked on an intra-State flight, for example between Brisbane and Cairns, it is clear that this will have national implications.

This amendment will expand the definition of “prescribed flight” in the Crimes (Aviation) Act to include flights operating within a State, allowing air security officers to operate as a fully effective and efficient team on those flights.

Summary

No country has ever been immune to the threat of terrorism.

While there is no known specific threat of terrorism in Australia at present, we must ensure that we are as well prepared as possible to deal with the new international security environment.

Terrorist forces, through violent and intimidatory methods, are actively working to undermine democracy and the rights of people throughout the world.

We must direct all available resources, including the might of the law, at protecting our community and ensuring that those responsible for threatening our security are brought to justice.

And we must do so as swiftly as possible.

The Howard Government emphatically rejects any suggestion that because we have not experienced any direct terrorist threat in Australia since September 11 this package of legislation is not justified or is an over-reaction.

We are actively involved in the war against terrorism.

We cannot assume that we are not at risk of a terrorist attack.

We cannot afford to become complacent.

And we should never forget the devastation of September 11.

The Howard Government takes very seriously the responsibility to protect Australia against terrorism.

We will be seeking to bring this important package of legislation on for debate as soon as possible.

This package of counter-terrorism legislation delivers on the Howard Government's commitment to ensure we are in the best possible position to protect Australians against the evils of terrorism.

—————

CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT (SUPPRESSION OF TERRORIST BOMBING) BILL 2002

The Criminal Code Amendment (Suppression of Terrorist Bombing) Bill 2002 will enable Australia to accede to the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings.

This bill is a further element of the Government's package of important counter-terrorism legislation designed to strengthen Australia's counter terrorism capabilities.

The bill effects amendments to both the Criminal Code Act 1995 and the Extradition Act 1988.

The object of the Convention is to enhance international cooperation in devising a legal response by the international community to the increasing number of terrorist bombings and other similar attacks in public places and on government facilities.

Existing counter-terrorism treaties, including those to which Australia is a party, do not specifically target these types of attacks.

The Convention focuses on such forms of terrorism and aims to provide the mechanism to prosecute and extradite those responsible for such attacks.

This bill is clearly a desirable measure.

The bill will significantly strengthen the ability of Australian authorities to take action against alleged offenders.

The bill contains two offences.

The first offence provides for acts causing death or serious harm to a person and the second offence provides for acts causing extensive destruction.

In each of those offences strict liability applies to the nature of the place where the act is committed.

This means that there are no fault elements for this particular element of the offence and, therefore, it is immaterial whether the person knows the nature of the place.

Lethal device is defined broadly.

This means that the bill would apply not only to bombings in the conventional sense, but also to acts such as the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on 11 September 2001.

The bill adds a new division to the Commonwealth Criminal Code, which implements the convention offences in Australian domestic law.

To reflect the severity of these offences, they will attract a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

This demonstrates the seriousness with which the Government views its commitment to deterring such attacks and doing everything possible to bring the perpetrators to justice.

These offence provisions only apply where circumstances relating to the alleged offence have an international element.

In accordance with the provisions of the convention, the proposed offences will not apply to the activities of the Australian Defence Forces.

The governments of the states and territories have been consulted about the Convention and they have expressed their support for Australia acceding to the Convention.

It should be noted that where there is a corresponding state or territory offence, the Attorney-General is required take this into account before deciding whether to prosecute a person.

Conclusion

This bill, as part of the Government's package of counter terrorism legislation, delivers on the Government's commitment to enhance our ability to meet the challenges of the new terrorist environment.

The bill demonstrates our determination to deter terrorist attacks and to do everything possible to bring perpetrators to justice.

—————

CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT (SUPPRESSION OF TERRORIST BOMBING) BILL 2002

The Criminal Code Amendment (Suppression of Terrorist Bombing) Bill 2002 will enable Australia to accede to the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings.

This bill is a further element of the Government's package of important counter-terrorism legislation designed to strengthen Australia's counter terrorism capabilities.

The bill effects amendments to both the Criminal Code Act 1995 and the Extradition Act 1988.

The object of the Convention is to enhance international cooperation in devising a legal response by the international community to the increasing number of terrorist bombings and other similar attacks in public places and on government facilities.

Existing counter-terrorism treaties, including those to which Australia is a party, do not specifically target these types of attacks.

The Convention focuses on such forms of terrorism and aims to provide the mechanism to prosecute and extradite those responsible for such attacks.

This bill is clearly a desirable measure.

The bill will significantly strengthen the ability of Australian authorities to take action against alleged offenders.

The bill contains two offences.

The first offence provides for acts causing death or serious harm to a person and the second offence provides for acts causing extensive destruction.

In each of those offences strict liability applies to the nature of the place where the act is committed.

This means that there are no fault elements for this particular element of the offence and, therefore, it is immaterial whether the person knows the nature of the place.

Lethal device is defined broadly.

This means that the bill would apply not only to bombings in the conventional sense, but also to acts such as the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on 11 September 2001.

The bill adds a new division to the Commonwealth Criminal Code, which implements the convention offences in Australian domestic law.

To reflect the severity of these offences, they will attract a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

This demonstrates the seriousness with which the Government views its commitment to deterring such attacks and doing everything possible to bring the perpetrators to justice.

These offence provisions only apply where circumstances relating to the alleged offence have an international element.

In accordance with the provisions of the convention, the proposed offences will not apply to the activities of the Australian Defence Forces.

The governments of the states and territories have been consulted about the Convention and they have expressed their support for Australia acceding to the Convention.

It should be noted that where there is a corresponding state or territory offence, the Attorney-General is required take this into account before deciding whether to prosecute a person.

Conclusion

This bill, as part of the Government's package of counter terrorism legislation, delivers on the Government's commitment to enhance our ability to meet the challenges of the new terrorist environment.

The bill demonstrates our determination to deter terrorist attacks and to do everything possible to bring perpetrators to justice.

—————

BORDER SECURITY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2002

This bill, the Border Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2002, contains amendments to the Customs Act 1901, the Customs Administration Act 1985, the Migration Act 1958, the Evidence Act 1995 and the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

The purpose of this bill is to implement the Government's election commitments to increase national security by further protecting our borders.

This bill contains amendments to a range of Customs activities that contribute to the security of our borders.

The amendments deal with border surveillance, the movement of people, the movement of goods and the controls Customs has in place to monitor this activity.

In implementing these measures the Government is mindful of the need to find a suitable balance between measures which detect and deter illegal activities and the needs of legitimate travellers and commerce.

The first set of amendments enhances the capacity of Customs officers to more effectively monitor and enforce security requirements at our borders.

The amendments establish processes to define parts of international airports where access is restricted for border security purposes, require international airline operators to provide Customs with information about passengers and require employers of workers in the secure areas of international airports to provide Customs with information about their employees.

The Chief Executive Officer will have the power to gazette areas within international airports where access is restricted for the purposes of border security.

Persons other than arriving and departing passengers and aircrew will need to be authorised by Customs to enter these areas and officers will have the power to remove unauthorised persons.

The Government has decided that for border security reasons, it is important for Customs and the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs to be able to assess any risks that passengers and crew might pose before they arrive in Australia.

The amendments enhance Customs' and Immigration's ability to assess passengers and crew prior to their arrival in Australia.

Operators of international passenger ships and aircraft arriving in Australia are already required to report all passengers and crew to Customs.

They now will be required to provide similar passenger and crew reports to Immigration.

Currently these reports can be made to Customs electronically or by document.

In most cases these reports will now have to be made electronically to Customs and Immigration prior to the ship or aircraft arriving in Australia.

While this scheme provides for advance passenger and crew reports to be made by the operators of aircraft and ships to both Customs and Immigration, measures have been put in place to ensure that those operators do not have to duplicate their reports.

If an operator provides information to Immigration under the Migration Act, that operator will not be required to provide the same information to Customs.

In addition, Immigration will be required to provide to Customs any information that it receives under the advance reporting provisions.

In the circumstances where the operators of aircraft and ships give information to Customs but not to Immigration, Customs will be required to give that information to Immigration.

International airline operators will also be required to allow Customs access to information about passengers in their computerised reservation systems.

This will help Customs to better identify high risk passengers who need further assessment on arrival.

This not only means Customs can concentrate its resources on the highest risks but also that the vast majority of travellers can be processed with minimal intervention and delay.

Penalties will apply where shipping companies and airlines do not comply with all the reporting requirements.

In keeping with the need to closely monitor activities at airports these amendments will also provide Customs with the authority to obtain information about people who work in the secure and restricted areas of international airports.

Employers will be required to provide Customs with details, such as name, address and date and place of birth, of new employees commencing work in these areas.

Authorities who issue aviation security identification will also be required to provide details when these identities are issued or renewed.

The use of this information will fully comply with the provisions of the Privacy Act 1988 and the requirements of Section 16 of the Customs Administration Act which governs the disclosure of information.

To assist with monitoring the movement of goods across our borders it is proposed to make reporting of in-transit goods that pass through Australian ports or airports mandatory.

Currently there is no requirement for reporting of in-transit cargo.

This means that Customs has no knowledge of prohibited goods that transit our borders and this undermines our anti-terrorism strategies and inhibits the capacity to monitor the movement of goods on behalf of other countries or as required by international agreements.

The amendments will make in-transit cargo subject to Customs reporting requirements.

The amendments will also provide a power to seize, under warrant, in-transit cargo which is connected with a terrorist act or prejudices Australia's defence or national security or international peace and security.

The amendment relating to electronic reporting of mail will address a risk associated with the reporting of international mail.

International sea mail is electronically reported to Customs on arrival in Australia but this is not the case for any international mail carried by air.

This amendment will remove the anomaly with airmail through mandating the electronic reporting of all mail.

The next set of amendments simplifies the administration associated with giving authority to persons to perform the functions of a Customs officer.

Under the Customs Act 1901 the Chief Executive Officer of Customs may authorise a class of persons to perform functions under the Act.

The power however does not apply to a person joining that class of persons after the authorisation is made.

This amendment will allow an authorisation made by the Chief Executive Officer to apply to persons who become a member of the class after the authorisation is made thus simplifying the administration involved.

The amendments relating to undeclared dutiable goods will remove an anomaly between the treatment of these goods when found in the possession or baggage of a person arriving in Australia, and similar goods found in baggage that is sent to Australia as “unaccompanied baggage”.

Dutiable goods that have not been declared by a person on arrival in Australia are forfeited goods.

The amendments will allow Customs to treat undeclared dutiable goods in the same manner whether the goods accompany the person to Australia or arrive separately.

It is also proposed to enable these forfeited goods to be impounded rather than seized where the circumstances warrant.

The amendments relating to the Fisheries Management Act 1991 will allow Customs access to the Vessel Monitoring System data collected by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority.

This amendment implements one of the recommendations made by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit in its Review of Coastwatch (Report Number 384).

This amendment is necessary to provide the Australian Fisheries Management Authority with authority to pass this information to Customs.

Access to this information will enable the better management of the nation's maritime surveillance activities, as Coastwatch will have the ability to identify known vessels from potential illegal vessels and thereby concentrate surveillance activities on unidentified targets.

The next set of amendments proposes to rationalise the different circumstances where the Chief Executive Officer of Customs considers it appropriate for a Customs officer to be issued with firearms and approved items of personal defence equipment.

Under Customs regulations the Chief Executive Officer authorises the carriage of firearms by Customs officers undertaking land patrols in remote parts of Australia.

Under the Customs Act 1901, the Chief Executive Officer authorises crews of Australian Customs Vessels to carry firearms and approved items of personal defence equipment at sea.

The proposal will provide a single comprehensive power to enable the Chief Executive Officer to authorise the issue and carriage of firearms and approved items of personal defence equipment by Customs officers.

The amendments will provide a framework that will clarify the obligations and responsibilities of the Chief Executive Officer, the issuing officer and the officer authorised to carry firearms and personal defence equipment.

The amendments relating to power of arrest will restore the power of Customs officers and police officers to arrest persons who assault, resist, molest, obstruct or intimidate a Customs officer in the course of performing his or her duties.

This power was unintentionally removed by the Criminal Code Amendment (Theft, Fraud, Bribery and Related Offences) Act 2000.

The final set of amendments amends the definition of “Commonwealth agency” in the Customs Administration Act 1985 to provide that the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence is a Commonwealth agency for the purposes of section 16 of that Act.

The Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence is an unincorporated organisation established by inter-governmental agreement between the Commonwealth, the States and the Northern Territory.

Amending the definition contained in this bill will clarify that the bureau is to be deemed a Commonwealth agency for the purposes of section 16.

This will provide authority for Customs to pass information to the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence for the purpose of intelligence and law enforcement.

Collectively these amendments will allow Customs to make a more significant contribution to protecting Australia's borders.

—————

TELECOMMUNICATIONS INTERCEPTION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2002

The ability to be able to intercept telecommunications is an important tool for law enforcement agencies investigating crimes.

The Telecommunications Interception Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 effects amendments to both the Telecommunications (Interception) Act 1979 and the Customs Act 1901.

Importantly the bill addresses the need for the use of interception by law enforcement agencies investigating terrorism, serious arson and child pornography offences.

I turn first to the amendments to the Interception Act.

First, the amendments clarify the application of the Act to modern means of telecommunication, such as email services, SMS messaging and voicemail services.

The use of new technologies by targets of law enforcement and national security agencies has posed increasing operational difficulties for those agencies in the performance of their functions.

The events of 11 September 2001 and subsequent investigations highlighted these operational difficulties.

The amendments make clear that a communication will fall outside the definition of interception where it is stored on equipment and can be accessed using that equipment but without reference to the telecommunications network.

In these circumstances agencies will be able to access the communications pursuant to other appropriate means of lawful access, such as a search warrant authorising the operation of the equipment.

These amendments reflect a much needed clarification, and will assist agencies in the performance of their functions.

Second, the bill contributes to the Government's efforts to ensure we are well placed to respond to the new security environment in terms of our operational capabilities, infrastructure and legislative framework.

The bill includes conduct involving terrorist acts as offences in relation to which a telecommunications interception warrant may be sought.

These provisions, and other measures taken by the Government, are designed to bolster our armoury in the war against terrorism and deliver on our commitment to enhance our ability to meet the challenges of the new terrorist environment.

The inclusion of terrorist offences as warrantable offences in their own right properly acknowledges the seriousness of all terrorist offences, and will assist law enforcement agencies to avail themselves of this investigative tool in their investigations into such activity.

The bill also strengthens the Act by ensuring the availability of telecommunications interception as an investigative tool in connection with the investigation of serious arson and child pornography related offences.

Telecommunications services such as Internet and Email are increasingly employed in child pornography related offences.

Telecommunications interception will be an extremely valuable tool in the investigation of child pornography offences.

Similarly, telecommunications interception will be a valuable tool in the more effective investigation of serious arson offences.

To date, telecommunications interception has not been available in the investigation of such offences.

Consistent with the existing serious offence threshold provided in the Act, a warrant authorising telecommunications interception can only be sought in relation to the arson and child pornography related offences where the relevant offence is punishable by 7 years or more imprisonment.

The bill also amends the Act to ensure that lawfully intercepted information can be used by and communicated to Commissioners of the respective police services in connection with the possible dismissal of an officer of that service.

The amendments will therefore assist Commissioners to more effectively manage their respective services by ensuring that they are able to receive and act upon any lawfully intercepted information that may give rise to a decision to dismiss an officer.

In particular, the amendments will ensure that Commissioners are able to appropriately deal with corrupt conduct where evidence of that conduct is found in lawfully intercepted information.

The bill also amends the Act to include the recently established Western Australian Royal Commission into Police Corruption as an eligible authority for the purposes of the Act.

This will enable intercepting agencies to communicate relevant intercepted information to the Royal Commission, much as they were able to do in relation to the Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service. The amendments will not, however, permit the Commission to apply for warrants in its own right.

The bill also amends the Act to permit intercepted information to be used in connection with the investigation of serious improper conduct by the Anti Corruption Commission of Western Australia.

The amendment will permit the Anti-Corruption Commission to more effectively discharge its function of investigating allegations of corrupt conduct, criminal conduct, criminal involvement or serious improper conduct by police officers and other public officers.

The bill also effects a number of amendments to reflect the recent merger of the Queensland Crime Commission and Criminal Justice Commission to form the Crime and Misconduct Commission, clarify selected aspects of the Act, and ensure the ongoing effective operation of the Australian telecommunications interception regime.

In addition to the amendments with respect to telecommunications interception, the bill also amends the Customs Act 1901.

The bill amends that Act to permit a judge of a court created by Parliament to consent to be nominated to issue listening device warrants under the Act.

This amendment will have the effect of extending the class of persons who may consent to be nominated to include Federal Magistrates.

In this respect the amendments will bring the Act into line with analogous provisions in the Australian Federal Police Act 1979.

Summary

This bill effects important amendments to the offences for which interception warrants may be sought.

These amendments are designed to assist the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate serious and heinous crimes, such as terrorism, child pornography and serious arson offences.

The bill clarifies the application of the legislation to modern means of communication.

The bill also effects amendments to the agencies who may receive intercepted information and in what contexts, the purposes for which intercepted information may be used and other amendments designed to improve the operation of the legislation.

This bill was originally introduced prior to the last election.

Since that time, it has been amended to include offences constituted by conduct involving acts of terrorism as offences in relation to which a telecommunications interception warrant may be sought.

These changes are part of the package of counter-terrorism measures designed to bolster our armoury in the war against terrorism.

These measures demonstrate the Howard Government's commitment to ensure we are in the best possible position to protect Australians against the evils of terrorism.

Ordered that further consideration of the second reading of this bill be adjourned to the first sitting day of the next period of sittings, in accordance with standing order 111.