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Privacy Law and Policy Reporter

Privacy Law and Policy Reporter (PLPR)
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Waters, Nigel --- "Interception amendments for NSW Police Royal Commission" [1994] PrivLawPRpr 147; (1994) 1(10) Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 192

Interception amendments for NSW Police Royal Commission

Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service (Access to Information) Act 1994 (Cth)

This legislation, passed unopposed (see Senate Hansard, 16 November 1994, page 3131), allows the National Crime Authority (NCA), AUSTRAC, and other law enforcement agencies to disclose information already acquired for other purposes (including by telephone intercepts) to the newly-established Royal Commission. The legislation amends the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 and the Telecommunications (Interception) Act 1979.

The Australian Democrats considered moving amendments to give the Royal Commission itself the power to carry out telephone interceptions (as requested by the Royal Commissioner, Justice Wood) or to include 'official corruption' in the list of offences for which interception is permitted (subject to judicial warrant). However, both the government and the opposition indicated that they would not support these changes - citing the need to limit the scope of interception and not create precedents, so as to protect individual rights (see (1994) 1 PLPR 174 for previous attempts to obtain similar amendments). The government has advised the NSW government that it would support a reference from NSW to the NCA to allow direct requests for intercepts for the purposes of the Royal Commission.

Nigel Waters

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