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Tuesday, 30 November 2004
Page: 20


Senator LUDWIG (1:36 PM) —Labor will not be supporting amendment (4), and I forewarn that we also do not support the Democrat position in their amendment (29). I can deal with both amendments together here as they effectively seek to remove clauses (39) and (40) which regulate the circumstances under which a law enforcement officer may, with written permission, use an appropriate tracking device.

I am not sure whether Senator Greig heard the evidence given to the legislation committee, but I am sure he has read it. We asked a similar question during the legislation committee deliberations because we thought that it was unusual that they might in fact need an emergency warrant. We thought it was a physical device that you would attach to a vehicle or some such thing to track it. But, as they explained, it might be a surveillance operation, or what they called `tracking' a vehicle, but not using a technical device. The suspects might change vehicles and they might have an opportunity of continuing their investigation with the new vehicle. If they cannot not get a tracking device on the new vehicle then they might in fact lose it. That is not the only reason, I am sure, but it brought to mind that sometimes it was helpful to have, in instances like these, law enforcement officers before the committee explaining some of the reasons why in certain circumstances—but only justifiable circumstances which they can later justify and validate—there might be an emergency requirement to use this sort of material rather quickly because they did not want to lose the trail or the surveillance. In this instance they might have been running a particularly important surveillance of a drug bust or something like that and they did not want to lose the evidence. With the relevant safeguards surrounding it, it seems sensible to agree to it in those circumstances. That gives some little bit of background, if it helps.