Oct 20, 2011

How ASIO’s non-existent war on illegal fishing is faring

ASIO's powers were expanded earlier this year, we were told, to help combat illegal fishing. So this week ASIO was asked how the war on illegal fishing was faring ...

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

This week at Estimates, there was a sequel to the circumstances around the passage of the “WikiLeaks” amendment earlier this year that expanded ASIO’s powers to gather foreign intelligence to incorporate not merely “non-state actors” but virtually anything relating to Australia or its interests, including commercial interests.

As those who followed the debate will recall, the Attorney-General’s Department, which had carriage of the Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2011, found itself in difficulties back in June trying to explain what exactly the expansion of powers was for, having denied that the amendment was in any way connected to or had anything to do with WikiLeaks. After its officers stumbled when responding to Labor senator Louise Pratt about what exactly the amendment would enable ASIO to do that it couldn’t do now, the Department made a highly unusual third submission to the quickie Senate inquiry into the Bill, in which it declared:

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5 thoughts on “How ASIO’s non-existent war on illegal fishing is faring

  1. Tom McLoughlin

    I think you will find they mean the protagonists of “illegal fishing” such as the Sea Shepherd. Have ASIO undertaken any surveillance of such whaling activists that might damage Australia’s national economic interest (in kissing Japan’s arse)?

    To put some meat on the bones, so to speak, consider a young chappy (not the writer) tramping along in the Canadian snow happening upon an isolated phone box on an isolated road (date check, no mobile phones) when, hello, the damn thing rings. “Hello ‘Bloggs'” says the disembodied voice, just letting you know we know exactly where you are. Because they did know … somehow. Our whale loving Bloggs takes due note and tramps on, not a soul in sight.

    True story.

  2. bluepoppy

    The less than honest response from AGD does not surprise. Try getting information via FOI and one discovers many important government documents appear not be ‘found’ even when released material point to the existence of further paperwork. Perhaps the record management and ministerial processes need review given the number of documents that regularly go astray.

  3. AR

    As perfect an example as could be imagined of why gov depts that operate in secret need to be held to account. Not that they won’t do exactly what they want anyway but, if competently scrutinised, the dirty laundry will stink to high heaven.
    “never watch sausages or laws being made” or, to paraphrase Orwell & Kipling, “we only sleep at night because others are ready to do violence on our behalf”.

  4. Liamj

    No wonder ASIO’s standards have slipped, deceiving the general public has never been easier [insert boobs/football/gadget here]. But if they’re going to deceive the wily forigner they’ll have to do better and we citizens should pretend to pay attention now and then, just so ASIO can get some practice keeping their lies in order.

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