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Tuesday, 24 August 2021
Page: 65


Mrs ANDREWS (McPhersonMinister for Home Affairs) (18:39): I would like to thank my colleagues right across this chamber for their contribution to the debate on the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020. The government's first priority is ensuring the safety and security of all Australians. It is vital that our law enforcement agencies have effective tools to protect the Australian community. The growing use of the dark web and other technologies that allow criminals to remain anonymous is increasingly inhibiting agencies' ability to protect our community. This bill will substantially boost the capacity of the Australian Federal Police, the AFP, and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the ACIC, to identify and disrupt serious criminal activity occurring online, particularly activity by criminals who seek to use the dark web and other platforms to evade law enforcement.

The arrest of more than 220 criminals as part of Operation Ironside earlier this year was a testament to the dedication and hard work of our law enforcement agencies, but it also demonstrated the persistent and ever-evolving threat of transnational serious and organised crime and their increasing tendency to seek out and use technology—often operated exclusively for the criminal market to conceal their offending. In the case of Operation Ironside, ingenuity and world-class capabilities gave our law enforcement an edge. This bill is just one more step the government is taking to ensure our agencies maintain that edge.

The bill has been reviewed extensively by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, with a report tabled by the committee on 5 August 2021. I circulate an addendum to the explanatory memorandum, responding to issues raised by the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. The government thanks these committees for their review of these important reforms.

We do not accept serious crime in our communities and neither should we accept it online. Our laws must keep pace with technology if our agencies are to continue to do the job we expect of them to keep Australians safe.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.