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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2010) . . Page.. 2398 ..


doing our job to draft and pass law. The amendments that I will be moving later will ensure compliance with the right to privacy and should be passed on that basis when it comes to the threshold test.

The other amendments that I will be moving later relate to emergency authorisations and have been prepared to strengthen the emergency authorisation process. Our amendments make clear that on-call duty magistrates and judges will be used in the process to issue surveillance warrants where applications are needed either out of hours or in an emergency.

Significant concerns have been raised by stakeholders about how the emergency authorisations process will operate. Provisions give the chief officer of the Australian Federal Police the power to issue warrants in emergencies. The concern was that this excluded judicial officers from their proper role in providing a check and balance on the police, even in times of urgency.

However, in correspondence with the Attorney-General, I have discovered that the government do envisage the use of on-call duty magistrates and judges. The amendments will make sure that is absolutely clear and put it beyond doubt. The amendments we propose will simply insert an example of a situation where the police can self-issue a warrant. The example is where a call has been placed to an on-call duty magistrate and contact has not been able to be made. In those narrow situations, where a judicial officer is not contactable, the police do still need the ability to use surveillance devices.

The existing emergency provisions of the bill cater for that well. An emergency authorisation will be issued by the chief officer of the AFP and will be put before a judge within two working days. The Greens’ amendments will add certainty to this law and add strength.

We will obviously come to the amendments later. I thought it was useful at the start of the debate to outline both the nature of them and the rationale behind them. As I said earlier, the Greens will be supporting the bill in principle and look forward to support for the amendments we are proposing.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.31), in reply: I would like to thank members for their support of this bill this morning. I would like to address some of the aspects of the bill that have attracted members’ comments and attention.

Firstly, I would like to answer the question of what is required before an application for a warrant for the use of a surveillance device can be made. A law enforcement officer must suspect, on reasonable grounds, that a relevant offence has been, is being or is about to be or is likely to be committed and that the use of the surveillance device will be necessary in the course of the investigation for the purpose of enabling evidence or information to be obtained of the commission of the relevant offence or the identity or location of the offender.


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