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Faulkner attacks vague national security proposals

The government’s unwillingness to provide a detailed description of its national security proposals appears to be backfiring on Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, with Labor elder John Faulkner repeatedly raising the lack of public information about the proposals that form the basis of the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s inquiry into them.

The committee was tasked with investigating a suite of 44 proposals in July, but only after a tussle with the Attorney-General over timing and the preparation of a discussion paper by her department. But the 60-page discussion paper provides little explanation or justification of some of the most controversial proposals, including two-year data retention, criminalisation of refusal to assist with decryption and the extension of surveillance warrants to social media platforms.

As Crikey reported last week, this has led to the peculiar situation of more detailed information about some proposals emerging from Roxon’s letters to newspaper editors than was provided in the paper itself.

However, JCIS member John Faulkner, the only Labor Left faction member of the committee, has pointedly commented on the dearth of information at the committee’s two hearings so far. At the first committee hearing in Melbourne the week before last, Faulkner repeatedly reflected on the lack of detail around the proposal that has absorbed most of the committee’s public hearings, data retention. In discussing how a data retention scheme could be structured to address privacy concerns with representatives of the Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner, Faulkner noted:

I would be the first to say that the fact that we are not dealing with draft legislation but with a discussion paper certainly makes the work of this committee harder, particularly given that our terms of reference really outline a number of different categories of consideration for the committee.”

When a witness commented on the “broad brush approach of the discussion paper”, Faulkner replied:

We acknowledge that. We acknowledge the fact that there are even different categories of consideration that the government has given to it, even in our own terms of reference, so that is a point well made.”

When Andrew Pam of the EFA complained about the lack of  justification for the proposals, Faulkner went further:

That is fair criticism. I have said before that there are no safeguards outlined. In fact, the detail about the proposal itself is obviously very limited.”

He then asked Pam: “Have you found generally in preparing your submission, which is very helpful from the perspective of this committee, that it is a challenge, given the lack of detail around many of the proposals?” He went on to ask:

I would be interested in your view, first of all, about lack of detail and, secondly, the breadth and range of the issues the committee has before us. I would be interested in your perspective on how much of a challenge that was, or if you found that a challenge in developing your submission for the committee.”

Both witnesses and Faulkner contrasted the vague proposals in the discussion paper and concrete proposals in draft legislation. “It is two-and-a-half lines,” Faulkner said about data retention. “There is not a lot of certainty about what it does mean.” He then said bluntly:

I am sick of saying that what this committee has been left with is a huge task … we would be better off if we had the government’s draft legislation or some of those proposals before us.”

Faulkner continued the complaint at last Friday’s hearings in Canberra, again noting that the proposal before the committee related to two-and-a-half lines, and quizzing telco representatives about what details a previous unreleased discussion paper from AGD about data retention had included in order to better understand the proposal.

The issue of data retention is especially vexing because of what seems to be a difference between Roxon and law enforcement agencies over the extent of the data to be retained. Roxon has twice insisted it would not extend to URL logging for IP addresses, and has preferred to use telephone examples in describing the proposal. But in August, AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan used examples of child p-rnography, grooming and terrorism to justify data retention, all of which would be problematic without retaining the URLs visited by each IP address.

It’s also worth noting  that this has meant that a committee focused on national security and intelligence matters is being required to make an assessment about the impact of proposals on crime-fighting and law enforcement, something beyond its remit.

Faulkner’s repeated comments appear to be a clear signal to Roxon that the ill-defined nature of the proposals put forward by her department will be an impediment to the committee reaching a clear position on them.

Of equal salience is the hostility displayed to the proposals by the Coalition joint party room last week, when a dozen MPs raised concerns. Under the Howard government, Coalition MPs waved through several draconian assaults on basic liberties launched by Howard and Phillip Ruddock (who is on JCIS). In opposition, however, Liberal MPs appear to have rediscovered the meaning of their party name. Put simply, Roxon’s proposals, a difficult sell as they are now, will become politically impossible if the Coalition opposes them.

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  • 1
    botswana bob
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m still waiting for the PM to tell us plebs how these police state proposals fit into real Labor values.

  • 2
    izatso?
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    write your pm respectfully …… pm.gov.au …..

  • 3
    izatso?
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    But then, our National Security is abrogated and traduced by TPP proposals …… get mad here ….. eff.org/issues/tpp

  • 4
    izatso?
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    the governments unwillingness to approach some things overtly, in the clear light of day ? in open discussion ? wordpress com /trans-pacific-partnership-is-washington-speak-for-corruption-and-theft/

  • 5
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    As usual gutless politicians let police agencies drive law and abandon the concept of separate powers.

    The horrible Hillsborough report in the UK should tell us why police will simply lie to get their way. Don’t for a minute believe it is any different here.

  • 6
    Owen Gary
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    So the juggernaut rolls steadily on as the NWO Oligarchy wants full control & supply of all information.

    It’s all going smoothly to plan as shown on the (Georgia Guidestones) google them & have a read.

  • 7
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Pretty soon we will be the facist republic of Nowhere.

  • 8
    Greg Jones
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    So, the JCIS gets to play with the vagaries of a discussion paper instead of the devil in the detail of a draft legislation. I get it. Muddy the waters and shove it through. There has not been one single piece of honesty in any of the arguments put forward by our trusted law enforcement agencies supporting any of these draconian measures.

    What is Ruddock doing on this committee? Another Fox put in charge of the hen house? He is so loyal to the Hegemonista/NWO.

  • 9
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    The ghost of Sir Humphrey Appleby is alive and well, and haunting our corridors of “Justice”?
    ……. oh, wait a minute that’s “Lucky Phil” …..?

  • 10
    izatso?
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Ruddick is indeed a spectre. And he would Haunt the unborn

  • 11
    izatso?
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    that would be ….. Ruddock is indeed a spectre, and he would Haunt the unborn

  • 12
    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    In opposition, however, Liberal MPs appear to have rediscovered the meaning of their party name.”

    Oh, we can only wish!

  • 13
    Owen Gary
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    So how much further should we delve?

    Shall i take the red pill or the blue one?
    Nah give me the blue one nearly everyone else is taking that one!!

  • 14
    Owen Gary
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the colour blue is the pill all conservative followers like to swallow as it is only on the inside it reveals it’s bitterness.

  • 15
    GeeWizz
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m still waiting for the PM to tell us plebs how these police state proposals fit into real Labor values.”

    What are you talking about, all the best leftwing governments have been police states.

    North Korea… Cambodia…Soviet Union… etc etc

  • 16
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of “Jacob Gnarly”.

  • 17
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz, those are not leftist regimes, they are facist regimes.

  • 18
    Greg Jones
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    ” The ghost of Sir Humphrey Appleby is alive and well, and haunting our corridors of “Justice”?
    ……. oh, wait a minute that’s “Lucky Phil” …..?”

    If that show were around today it would n’t get past the filters.

  • 19
    AR
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    The usual banal justification, “if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear”, is dumb enough but what happens when the Autocracy not only knows
    all about you but more than you know yourself?
    Such as credit agencies getting it wrong, imagine the far greater government machine, mistaking threats, tendencies, habits & proclivities as well as being full of just plain B/S.
    Anyone who’s ever managed to get their ASIO file is always stunned at how wrong the details are, full of innuendo, rumour and traducing from those with a grudge.
    The more data the government “knows” (ie holds on an individual), the greater the chances of it being abused apart from little things like going astray and falling into even more malevolent hands.

  • 20
    Ed Black
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    It’s commonly known by teenagers that you cannot be traced or followed or have your online activities known by anyone if you just use encryption. A VPN will make you invisible to all, including government agencies. The means to do this are available for free, (not even including Tor) and if you choose, not even the service you use knows who you are.

    So, whose data are they going to capture? Just some mums and dads, a bit of small business etc. The ones they really are after will be untraceable, just like the 16 year old down the street

  • 21
    JG Downs
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    @Owen Gary(((It’s all going smoothly to plan as shown on the (Georgia Guidestones) google them & have a read.)))

    Did n’t know about them. Yes, it’s a dead give away regarding their origin. Sort of alternate 10 commandments and a creed to live by.

    @Greg Jones (((If that show were around today it would n’t get past the filters.))))

    That would be ” passed ” and not ” past “…just sayin.

  • 22
    Owen Gary
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    @JG Downs,

    Did n’t know about them. Yes, it’s a dead give away regarding their origin. Sort of alternate 10 commandments and a creed to live by.”

    Just a few small details you conveniently left out Mr Downs, they want to trim the world population down to half a billion, so do you want to tell us which of the 6.5 billion has to go??

    Perhaps this is the reason the people responsible for the erection of these “Guide Stones” decided to use an alias & remain anonymous just like their kin at the top of the pyramid. “You know” the ones that control the IMF, WORLD (private consortiums) BANK & the very same people who introduced the WTO and all the rest of the cabalistic regimes that has ensured the survival and domination of its hegemon at the sacrifice of others.

    As for the sustainability & harmony of the planet I’m all for it, in fact been practicing it for years. If only we could rid ourselves of those nefarious ones mentioned above who are causing all the death & destruction.

    Anything else you would like to add Mr Downs??

  • 23
    Ronson Dalby
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Where does the increasing surveillance of citizens end?

    VICTORIA’S public transport authority is increasingly handing over information about myki users’ movements to police, raising concerns that the smart card is being used as a tracking device.”

    theage.com.au/victoria/police-handed-data-on-myki-users-20120917-262v8.html

  • 24
    j.oneill
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    One of the outstandingly obvious developments in recent years has been the complete blurring of any distinction between Australian governments of whichever party when it comes to “security” issues. A raft of repressive measures were passed under the Howard Regime with Labor support. None were repealed or even modified. Now Labor are doing the same with almost certain Coalition support. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the reassertion of “Liberal” values.

    I also think we bear some responsibility ourselves. Not since Nuremburg have Western leaders been held accountable for their crimes. Our media have also manifestly failed in their responsibilities. They lead the charge when it comes to faithfully trotting out the latest bogeyman scares.
    Unless and until we hold politicians and the media accountable we will continue the inexorable slide to a police state.

  • 25
    JG Downs
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    @Owen Gary

    For Christ’s sake Owen, are you suggesting that I approve of those echo of the devil’s laughter Georgia Guide Stones? Get real!!!

    I will tell you something. You say as ” for the sustainability & harmony of the planet I’m all for it, in fact been practicing it for years.”…congratulations!..so have many other gullible and well meaning people been sucked into similar movements who take hold of a very worthy cause and use it to push their hidden evil agenda. Shall I mention a few?…no, better not.

    BTw, it’s Mrs and not Mr.

  • 26
    Owen Gary
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    @JG DOWNS

    I think you lost your tangent whilst searching for the trees in the forest, or on this occassion the guide stones in the quarry. I think if I passed on to you just some of what I know in this gullible head of mine, you might not sleep properly for the forseeable future. I guess when the real deal starts in the next 3 months you may retract your insults (if you wish) & inquire with more diplomacy Mrs Downs.

  • 27
    JG Downs
    Posted Wednesday, 19 September 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Tangent? oh really. What will you do when you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place ? Will you follow the instructions set before you? From this point on you will only have approximately 42 months, 3 1/2 years or 1,260 days, take your pick, to get it right.

    (((I guess when the real deal starts in the next 3 months you may retract your insults (if you wish) & inquire with more diplomacy Mrs Downs.)))

    It’s ok darling, I still got your back.

  • 28
    Owen Gary
    Posted Wednesday, 19 September 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    JG DOWNS,

    Just a point of reference as I think theres wires crossed here, I am pointing out as shown in my posts how this nefarious NWO is bringing this world into chaos as aligned with revelations. I do not support the evil ones at the top of the pyramid who have us on this course, JG you will see from my many posts how they are actually acheiving this. We stand on the same side of the fence here, but their will be a major event in the next 3 months which starts the process in the timespan which you refer to. The kind of crap Western governments has been complicit to not just in recent times is a horror story. Governments are puppets to this cabal to which you refer.

    In short JG read my many posts and you will know exactly where I am coming from.

  • 29
    JG Downs
    Posted Wednesday, 19 September 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    No wires crossed Owen, I bunged on a bit just so I could create a context to squeeze a couple of things out…you know how it goes sometimes, you are a master at it.

    I know where you stand, but was not aware you had made the connection with the NWO great plan and the book of Revelations. I am fair dinkum smacked in the gob!!! Are you really serious or just playing with me?…again.

    The book of Revelations only made it into the bible canon because they thought nobody would ever figure it out and connect the dots of latter time events.

    The book of Daniel..”seal up the book Daniel, until the time of the end” = TBOR. Only a Remnant is going to survive all this, a residue of folk worldwide who do not take the mark of the beast or worship it’s image.

    Matthew 24: 29 and onwards is a description of the rescue of this Remnant from the clutches of the NWO anti messianic Luciferians. And note that this occurs after the Tribulation and not before as false christian doctrine would have it. They believe in a Pre-Tribulation rapture which gets them off the hook, but there is no such thing. It’s actually a khtaf, which means a “regathering” and not a rapture. This is a “regathering ” of the end time nation of Is rael which has nothing to do with bloodline or race, but a true multicultural and multinational remnant who have been plucked from the fire and rescued from the 4 corners of the earth.

    Owen, I am still smacked in the gob. ” one from a family and two from a city “

  • 30
    Owen Gary
    Posted Wednesday, 19 September 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    JG

    The Egyptian, Summarian & Mayan have all recorded events about our current time & some historians have already cracked it but it has remained conjecture of course for the sake of the mainstream. Its a scary thing when civilisations from the past all have a prefixed warning of our present time from thousands of years ago especially given there is no direct connection between their civilizations.

    The depopulation process has already begun & been brought into fruition since post WW2 but in full swing since the 1980s under the so called “free markets” which as you know is the monopolization of them. Through this monopolization they have gained absolute economic dominance.

    Our water & food supply are constantly & deliberately tainted and the environment being deliberately trashed. You see GM food was never to feed a hungry world it was designed to kill it, 42 years after its release the world is still hungry, we could always produce 1.5x the food we needed but the will was never their to do it. Why would they add the Ecoli genome to foodcrops, for our nutrition no doubt??
    Cancer rates now 1 in 2 but interestingly what was it before the release of GM!
    The Pharmaceutical industry feeds off this sickness then profits on making us sicker, the flow of capital from one industry to another whilst killing us is quite clever when you think they are using our own money to do it.
    This is only the tip of the iceberg there are to numerous to post on here, but now comes the time of the pretenders after the crash of the monetary system & of course the false flag terrorist events and draconian legislation that follows all in the name of protecting us. The apathy of the general public will be our demise & there will be great bloodshed to come.

    I would prefer the message of “George Carlins greatest moment” to get the mind ticking cause at least there is humour there, utube it.

    Godspeed & keep well JG.

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