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Wednesday, 29 May 1996
Page: 1352


Senator BOLKUS(6.17 p.m.) —The test that Senator Cooney is suggesting here is the one that is already in the Telecommunications (Intercept) Act. The judicial officer has to be satisfied about certain things. That is what he or she has to do there and that is what we are invoking here. They have to be satisfied about certain things, which are provided to them by the senior law enforcement officer. The senior law enforcement officer has an obligation—under threat of contempt or other proceedings if he or she was to lie—to the judge. You could ask very much the same sorts of questions that you are asking now about this provision as you could ask about the telephone interception act or any warrant that has been sought from a judicial officer.

I think it is a very spurious argument that Senator Vanstone is running here, with all respect to her. Whatever the warrant is that is sought from a judicial officer, a person seeking that warrant has always got to satisfy the officer of certain things. In the way that that is ordinarily done, you would have it done here as well. That is what we are saying in respect of this. I do not believe there is much more to be said on this particular issue. I think Senator Cooney, in embracing in his amendment the whole aspect of factors that need to be taken into account by the judge, covers all of the points that you were making earlier. In essence, you have a situation here which is very close to the issuing of warrants. I think your arguments are just spurious.