The claim by Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus that Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning are not whistleblowers shows Labor’s desperation to justify its attacks on privacy, the Greens said today.
Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said the claim by Mr Dreyfus “beggars belief”.
“If Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning aren’t whistleblowers, who is? But this goes far beyond butchering the English language – Mr Dreyfus is making a decisive statement in the defence of spying on law-abiding citizens, in the defence of universal surveillance, and in defence of governments concealing their war crimes.
“If the Attorney-General believes, as he stated today, that the operation of the PRISM surveillance system does not constitute ‘wrongdoing’ – then it bodes badly for Australia. If the Attorney-General believes Bradley Manning did not reveal ‘wrongdoing’, then what does it take before someone is permitted to blow the whistle?
“Labor’s pursuit – with the full support of the Coalition – of greater powers to spy on Australians is a genuine threat to our civil liberties.
“Mr Dreyfus points out that just over 2000 convictions were achieved in 2011-12 based on evidence from telecommunications interceptions, while failing to mention that in that year law enforcement agencies - not including ASIO - made 293,501 requests for telecommunications data, without a warrant or any judicial oversight. That’s almost 300,000 warrantless requests for data, and barely more than 2000 convictions. Yet Labor seeks to increase the power to spy,” said Senator Ludlam.
“It is interesting that the Attorney-General says he assumes ‘from the virtual silence from the Coalition that they approve of the Federal Labor's current policy settings’. He’s quite right – the Coalition and Labor are in lockstep on this, and both marching in a dangerous direction.”
Senator Ludlam’s ‘Get A Warrant’ Bill would make law enforcement agencies acquire a warrant to intercept telecommunications. The Bill -http://greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/get-warrant-%E2%80%93-greens-bill-prohibit-warrantless-real-time-surveillance