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New Government surveillance powers need oversight

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Senator Scott Ludlam | Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia

16 Jul 2014

New Government surveillance powers need oversight

The Greens will move the Abbott Government’s new ASIO bill to be reviewed by the National Security Legislation Monitor, before being subject to Senate debate.

Today, the Government is set to introduce legislation dealing specifically with enhancing the electronic surveillance powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

Having backed down on its intention to abolish the office, the Government should now ensure the Monitor reviews the ASIO bill.

The Greens will ensure that the bill is subjected to rigorous committee review: we are concerned that the expanded powers may allow ASIO to implant spyware on computer networks operated by entirely innocent bystanders, and be granted immunity from the law. A bill expanding ASIO’s powers has become an almost annual event, with privacy protections lagging far behind.

Also of concern are rumours that the Government will soon introduce mandatory data retention for all Australians. The Greens support intelligence gathering powers that are targeted and proportionate, without indiscriminately place all Australians under surveillance.