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Wednesday, 11 December 2002
Page: 7694


Senator GREIG (11:42 AM) —I think it is worth recalling, to assist Senator Harris a little—he asked about text messaging and the opportunities for the authorities to read messages—that the answer is yes. The committee may recall that, when the government's original suite of bills—its antiterrorist responses—was first introduced, there were some seven bills. They included the legislation that we are dealing with currently, which was then a part of the original suite of bills. But they also included the Telecommunications Interception Legislation Amendment Bill, which, as I understand it, would have allowed ASIO and other authorities, such as the AFP, to intercept voice mail, email and text messaging. But the difference was that they could do that under the legislation without a warrant. My understanding—and perhaps the minister can clarify this—is that the opportunity is currently there for the authorities to intercept voice mail, email and text messaging with a warrant, but that what was being sought by the government with the then excised legislation, legislation which I understand the government is keen to return to the chamber, was to extend the opportunities for the authorities to continue doing that, without a warrant.