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Ignore the 98.9 per cent at your peril

Speeches in Parliament
Scott Ludlam 27 Feb 2013

Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (16:09): I seek leave to make a brief statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator LUDLAM: The motion that we will shortly put to a vote acknowledges that the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security, which is investigating a whole suite of proposals, most controversially one into two-year data retention for all Australians, has released the list of submissions that were put to that committee. A total of more than 5½ thousand submissions were put to the inquiry. If you take out the ones that were kept confidential, 98.9 per cent of submitters, from a very broad spectrum of Australian society, oppose two-year mandatory data retention for all Australians. So, we are not quite in the 99 per cent in this particular instance; we are in the 98.9 per cent. I hope our new Attorney-General pays very close attention to the tenor of the submissions to the national security inquiry. I congratulate the Australian Pirate Party for registration for tabling the petition that I did a short time ago on the same issue. I move:

That the Senate-

(a) notes that:

(i) less than half of one per cent of Australian organisations and individuals making submissions to the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation support the proposal for tailored data retention periods for up to 2 years,

(ii) of the total 5 554 submissions made to the inquiry, 25 were explicitly supportive of data retention, 32 submissions were listed as confidential and 34 do not address the issue, leaving 5 463 submissions or 98.9 per cent of submitters from a broad spectrum of Australian society explicitly indicating their opposition to the retention of data for up to 2 years, and

(iii) respondents objected That the proposal to retain data on all Australians for up to 2 years was vaguely and briefly presented, threatens privacy and freedom of expression and posed security risks through potential misuse of preserved data; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) abandon the proposal to retain data on all Australians for up to 2 years due to the public consultation revealing a wide diversity of opposition from across the political spectrum, from industry, lawyers, non-government organisations, information technology experts and the media, and

(ii) propose national security measures that are appropriate, proportionate and strengthen rather than erode human rights standards that are the cornerstone of Australian democracy.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion moved by Senator Ludlam be agreed to.

The Senate divided. [16:11]
(The Deputy President-Senator Parry)
Question negatived.


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