Government’s surveillance shambles adds to Senate chaos

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The Greens have called for debate on the Government's controversial mass surveillance legislation to be adjourned, as concerns have escalated rapidly over costs, privacy and protection of journalists' sources.

"During question time today, Attorney General Senator George Brandis quoted Government policy and told the Senate that:

"Australia's existing legal framework is founded on robust principles with provide fair and equal treatment of all subject to its laws; the same laws, Senator Ludlam, apply to all citizens, and they ought to apply equally."

"Less than an hour later, Prime Minister Tony Abbott made a vague announcement that journalists would be granted additional layers of protection. Like many others, I will believe it when I see it," said Greens Communications spokesperson Senator for WA Scott Ludlam.

"Despite being in direct contradiction to what Senator Brandis just told the Senate, this concession begs the question of how the Government proposes to protect the communications of doctors, diplomats, lawyers and others for whom unregulated access to their private information could be a major threat. Ultimately, that would include everyone, which is precisely why this proposal is so unpopular.

"As the Government scrambles to hose down condemnation by powerful media proprietors, the issues of cost, security of the data, indiscriminate nature of the collection continue to lurk in the background. Debate on this bill should not proceed until these issues have been resolved."