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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 7860


Senator HARRIS (12:02 PM) —I would like to make a brief comment in relation to government amendment (28), which goes to the content of the report that is brought before the house. My comment goes to the footnote under (1B), which states:

Subsection (4) lets the Minister delete information described in subsection (1A)—

that is, the actual contents of the report—

from the copy of the report laid before each House of the Parliament under subsection (3), if the Minister considers it necessary to avoid prejudice to security, the defence of the Commonwealth, the conduct of the Commonwealth's international affairs or the privacy of individuals.

In that we do have an amendment that will allow the reporting of the total number of requests by ASIO and the hours of inquiry, the amendment itself also gives the minister the ability to rule that certain instances may not be part of that report. While I support the government's amendment, I want to put clearly on the record that the real figures that this chamber may be looking for as a result of that report may not be factually correct, because the minister has the ability to override the report and take sections of it out.

Question agreed to.