Queensland government wrong on interception amendments - Ruddock

Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, said the Commonwealth Government will not be amending the federal telecommunications interception regime to accommodate the Queensland Government’s unwillingness to participate in a nationally consistent regime.

The Attorney General, Philip Ruddock, said phone tapping powers were regulated by Commonwealth legislation, which ensured consistency on the interception of telecommunications.

“Reports suggesting the Commonwealth will legislate next month to include a role for a Public Interest Monitor are incorrect,’’ Mr Ruddock said.

Cth not prepared to permit a state to impose standards inconsistent with national regime

Mr Ruddock said a state agency may not be given the power to seek interception warrants unless the law of that State makes satisfactory provision for certain minimum standards. The Queensland Government, he claimed, has not been willing to participate in the national scheme, which has been accepted and implemented in all other States and Territories.

“The Commonwealth remains willing to work with the Queensland Government to explore options that would permit Queensland agencies to access this very important investigative tool," Mr Ruddock said. “However, I am not prepared to permit a State to impose accountability standards that are inconsistent with the safeguards in the national regime".

Mr Ruddock has written to the Queensland Premier in relation to this and that until Queensland accepts Commonwealth offers to "Work Together", telecommunications interception will remain unavailable to Queensland law enforcement agencies.
18 July, 2006

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