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Wednesday, 29 May 1996
Page: 1343


Senator VANSTONE (Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs)(5.34 p.m.) —As I under stand it, Senator Spindler, you are right; the order of magnitude is different and we hope that it would be different. Because we are not doubling the task, if you like, but simply adding to it, it does not take away from the point that we can see, from the involvement of the telecommunications intercept cases, which are going to be significantly higher than these, that there is a follow-on workload.

It is not just finding a judge who is prepared to exercise this power by consent. That is not the end of it. We know that, even with the intercept approvals, there are a significant number of judges who are required to be respondents in proceedings in their own courts with respect to telecommunications intercept matters. We add to that the argument that they are qualitatively different. That is a balance of judgment about interference in your rights to privacy and the public good. In this case, what you are asking a judge to do is not to balance that judgment but to draw a conclusion that he or she is satisfied that someone is likely to commit an offence. So they are qualitatively different things.

You could therefore expect, because what you are asking in this respect is a much more serious judgment to be taken by the judicial officer, that they are going to be contested perhaps to a greater proportion than the others. So, yes, there are fewer numbers. But, because you are asking for a much more serious task, you could expect every one of them to be much more seriously contested than, say, the telecommunications intercept ones.