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Tuesday, 30 November 2004
Page: 20


Senator ELLISON (Minister for Justice and Customs) (1:39 PM) —I would like to address Democrat amendments (4) and (29). The Surveillance Devices Bill 2004 allows for the use of a number of different sorts of devices. One of them of course is a tracking device. It is perhaps the least intrusive of all the tracking devices which are contemplated by law enforcement. You attach the tracking device to an object such as a motor vehicle or a motor cycle and that is less intrusive than a listening device or another sort of surveillance device. Often you have to attach these at short notice—that is, the target is on the run or on the move. To go through the warrant process would certainly be detrimental to law enforcement.

We do have a provision, though, which I believe does address the concerns where it may become a bit intrusive. Where the level of intrusion increases because the device is to be used inside a vehicle or involves entry onto private land without permission, a full warrant must be sought from a judge or an Administrative Appeal Tribunal member. So I think that does accommodate those concerns where the law enforcement officer has to be more intrusive in the placing of the device. But for simply placing it on a vehicle or motor cycle we do not believe that it is intrusive enough to warrant the issuing of a warrant and, in any event, in those sorts of circumstances the urgency requires swift action. For those reasons the government opposes Democrat amendment (4), and (29), which will be put shortly.

Question negatived.