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Thursday, 25 September 2014
Page: 7128

Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (12:31): I thank Senator Siewert for her thoughtful contribution. One of the reasons that this debate has spilled over today is that the Attorney-General unnecessarily detained the chamber for well over an hour refusing to provide a document—effectively, his response to the Scrutiny of Bills Committee, which raised 19 separate concerns. Having had the opportunity now to review some of the concerns that they raise, I might come back to some of those later in the debate.

We have, as Senator Siewert indicated, moved to debate on the first substantive amendment, which is the Australian Greens amendment relating to the definition of 'computer' and the fact that this bill mandates an extraordinary expansion to how the law henceforth will understand to be the definition of a computer by expanding it to include the definition of a network or networks.

A couple of days ago, on 24 September, there was a piece by Ben Grubb in the Sydney Morning Herald entitled 'Fears ASIO to monitor entire internet' that noted the fact that the Senate had begun debating this legislation. The fear that the article describes is—as many witnesses and submitters to the joint committee noted—that this deliberate expansive definition of 'computer' means that, effectively, with one single warrant ASIO could spy on any device connected to the internet anywhere in the world. I find it remarkable that, under the weight of this evidence, the Labor Party considers that that is okay.

Having, I guess, to my satisfaction found that this was not a drafting error and was in fact intentional, I put the question to Senator Brandis last night, and I think just before the debate adjourned, Senator Brandis confirmed to Senator Macdonald and to me that it is in fact the intention the Australian government that a single—

Senator Brandis: That is not what I said. I rise on a point of order, Madam Temporary Chair. That is an entire misrepresentation of what I said, and I cannot believe that any person could have misunderstood what I said and then represent what Senator Ludlam has just said to be what in fact I said. That was a lie, Madam Temporary Chair.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN ( Senator O'Neill ): Senator Ludlam, it would assist the chamber if you would withdraw.

Senator LUDLAM: Withdraw what?

Senator Brandis: The lie.

Senator LUDLAM: I have just been accused of lying. That is unparliamentary. Senator Brandis has not indicated what he wants me to withdraw. You don't get to come in here and accuse people of lying. So I ask Senator Brandis to withdraw that immediately.

Senator Cameron: Madam Temporary Chair, I rise on the point of order. Senator Brandis is entitled to take a point of order but he is not entitled to accuse a senator of lying.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: Senator Brandis, your claim is unparliamentary and should be withdrawn.

Senator Brandis: I withdraw the word 'lie' and substitute the words 'deliberately mislead the chamber'.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: Senator Brandis, it would be unhelpful to leave it at that. Senator Brandis, you need to withdraw the word 'deliberately'.

Senator Brandis: If I have to I will, but the statement that has just come from the senator is misleading.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Senator Brandis, for assisting the chamber.

Senator LUDLAM: I had hoped that we could commence today's debate in a rather more parliamentary spirit than it was left off yesterday, but evidently that is not to be. What I will do is extend to Senator Brandis the opportunity to confirm for us—because I certainly have no wish to mislead this place or other senators or the public who are following this debate closely—the maximum number of devices that a warrant could capture under the government's drafting of this bill.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: The question is that the amendments be agreed to.

Senator LUDLAM: I would just note for those not familiar with Senate procedure that Senator Brandis is not willing to confirm what he said yesterday. I have asked you a direct—

Senator Brandis: That's not right, Senator Ludlam.

Senator LUDLAM: You don't have the call, Senator Brandis.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: Senator Ludlam, please continue your remarks. Senator Brandis, you do not have the call.

Senator LUDLAM: I will just ask a direct question, because I do not know how to put this any more simply than I have done a number of times. What is the maximum number of devices that a single computer access warrant could capture under the government's drafting?