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Thursday, 14 February 2019
Page: 10205


Senator McALLISTER (New South WalesDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (11:37): I move opposition amendment (1) on sheet 8643:

(1) Page 9 (after line 8), at the end of the Bill, add:

Schedule 4—Limiting technical assistance requests and technical capability notices to listed acts or things

Telecommunications Act 1997

1 Subsection 317G(6)

Omit "that may be specified in a technical assistance request given to a designated communications provider include (but are not limited to)", substitute "specified in a technical assistance request given to a designated communications provider must be".

2 Subsection 317JA(10)

Omit "that may be specified in a varied technical assistance request include (but are not limited to)", substitute "specified in a varied technical assistance request must be".

3 Paragraph 317T(4 ) ( c)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

(c) consist of one or more listed acts or things (other than an act or thing covered by paragraph 317E(1) (a));

4 Subsections 317T(5) and (6)

Repeal the subsections.

In the report from the PJCIS on the original bill, Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, recommendation 10 called on the government to amend the legislation to apply the systemic weakness limitation to all listed acts or things that an agency may be provided to do and to provide exhaustive definitions to the terms 'listed acts or things' and 'listed help' to ensure an agency could only ask or require a provider to do something actually listed in the access bill. There were no government amendments that addressed that first limb of that recommendation back in December, and our proposed amendments to section 317ZG implement that limb of recommendation 10.

With regard to the second limb of recommendation 10, the government's amendments did not address the ability for an agency to issue a technical assistance request to seek voluntary assistance outside of those matters listed in the definition of 'listed acts or things' as prescribed in the act, and these amendments correct that. The government's amendments also did not amend the provisions that would limit the types of new capabilities that a provider may be compelled to develop—that is, a provider may be compelled to develop new capabilities other than those listed in the act. As originally introduced, the access bill allowed the Minister for Communications and the Arts to prescribe other capabilities that would constitute listed help. Rather than removing that power as required by recommendation 10, the government's amendments transferred such decisions to the Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Dutton. These amendments will implement recommendation 10 of the committee's report by removing that power.