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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31574

Mr McCLELLAND (5:25 PM) —by leave—The opposition has agreed to deal with the Surveillance Devices Bill (No. 2) 2004 expeditiously, and we also agree that the Attorney-General has accurately set out the purpose and intent of the legislation as we understand it. The reason the opposition supports this bill, and indeed supports its expeditious passage, is that the bill is essentially the same as the Surveillance Devices Bill 2004, with amendments proposed by the government following the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee's report.

The opposition supports these amendments, which in some instances give effect to the bipartisan recommendations of that Senate committee and, in others, respond to requests by the state and territory governments for amendments to the bill, as outlined by the Attorney-General. Where the amendments do not pick up specifically the recommendations of the Senate committee, the opposition is satisfied from discussions with officials of the Attorney-General's Department that the concerns of the committee are being met in other ways that are appropriate.

We are facilitating the passage of this legislation this week—indeed, today—because it is beneficial to law enforcement, as outlined by the Attorney-General, because it provides a clear framework for the use of surveillance devices in the cross-jurisdictional environment involving quite complex investigations, frequently between Commonwealth and state law enforcement authorities. It is also beneficial to the privacy of Australians, in that it brings regulation for the first time to the use of many kinds of surveillance devices under federal law. The opposition has been pleased to cooperate in the improvement of this legislation through the parliament and the committee process, and we express our appreciation to that committee and to the government for its constructive approach to the suggestions made by the committee.