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Government acknowledges phone tapping concerns.



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STATEMENT

9 July 2002

Government acknowledges phone tapping concerns

Labor welcomes Minister for Justice and Customs Senator Chris Ellison’s acknowledgment this evening that information obtained from telephone tapping can be provided to the Cole Royal Commission only to investigate serious offences and not -

“in relation to other matters that the Commission may investigate, such as civil or industrial matters that do not involve the commission of a prescribed offence or other serious offences”.

The Government’s acknowledgment comes after it was revealed through Senate Estimates that the $60 million Cole Royal Commission has been receiving information obtained under telecommunications interception warrants.

The power to intercept private telecommunications between citizens is an extraordinary one. Last year’s Tampa affair showed that, under the Howard Government, the use of such extraordinary powers must be monitored with vigilance.

It is important to ensure that there is accountability for intercepted material received and used by the Cole Royal Commission.

Further information: Jonathan Kirkwood 0425 231 690

Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow M inister for W orkplace Relations

Robert McClelland MP