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Revision of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979

Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (12:22): I move:

That the following matter be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 10 June 2014:

Comprehensive revision of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (the Act), with regard to:

(a) the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice report, dated May 2008, particularly recommendation 71.2; and

(b) recommendations relating to the Act from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security Inquiry into the potential reforms of Australia's National Security Legislation report, dated May 2013.

I will also just indicate to senators that after the voting intentions of senators are clear, I will seek leave to make a brief statement.

Question agreed to.

Senator LUDLAM: Mr President, I seek leave to make a brief statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator LUDLAM: Just before this is committed to the record, the motion is for a reference to the references committee-I am just checking again as there might be an error on today's red. I am delighted to see this reference pass the chamber. Senators will be aware that I have been attempting to have an inquiry held into the surveillance regime in Australia for months. It has never been more urgent, and I would like to acknowledge the ALP for supporting this reference. I am extremely disappointed that the government cannot see to support it.

The Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department, under the previous government and under the current government, has acknowledged that the TIA Act is hopelessly outdated and urgently in need of review. This is not a hostile reference, but it is an extremely urgent one. The TIA Act was written in 1979, well before the age of the internet-I guess you could say it was in larval form-and this was the age of the lawful warrant in which, if you needed to surveil someone's phone calls or read their emails, you needed a warrant. So I commend this resolution to the Senate and look forward to working with members from all sides on the inquiry that is so long overdue. (Time expired)

 

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