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Tuesday, 30 November 2004
Page: 69

Senator LUDWIG (4:55 PM) —The effect of the amendment would be to subject this information to the same restrictions which apply to information obtained where a warrant or authorisation is required. However, I think it is implicit within the bill—and you can recognise the way the bill has been drafted—that the information referred to would be obtained through lesser degrees of intrusion into the property and privacy of those under surveillance in those instances. The bill recognises that there are gradations of intrusion. There is that type of intrusion which is not significant and that which clearly is. In these circumstances we believe it is justified not to include this information in the protected information regime in the bill.

You can recognise when there is a lesser degree of intrusion into the property and privacy of those under surveillance. The use of surveillance devices will stretch across a broad spectrum of circumstances, from binoculars and cameras right down to tracking or listening devices inside cars, vehicles or houses. There is a range of surveillance and I think the bill tries to encapsulate the whole range. With regard to the lesser type of intrusion the legislation tries to ensure that the rights are balanced all the way through rather than having a balance at the highest order which is not reflected at the lowest order of intrusion into property. I think the bill has achieved that balance as well as can be done. Therefore the bill achieves the objective of balancing the rights at the high end and at the lower end of intrusion. For those reasons we are not minded to support the amendment.

The amendment would include in the category of protected information, information obtained by the use of a surveillance device where a warrant is not required under the legislation. Therefore the amendment would just add another layer so that the category at the higher end where a warrant is required is the same as the category at the lower end. I think you can clearly delineate between the two. The use of optical surveillance devices which do not involve entry onto premises or interference with property without permission and listening devices which record words heard by a law enforcement officer are the circumstances I am talking about, and it would seem that the way the bill is structured is a fair representation and a fair balance of people's privacy against the law enforcement officers' need to continue their investigations.