In what Crikey’s Bernard Keane has rightfully called an “government wishlist of new surveillance powers”, the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security (JPCIS) has asked for submissions on the Attorney-General’s Department’s discussion paper ‘Equipping Australia Against Emerging and Evolving Threats.'
The discussion paper suggests “a massive expansion of intelligence-gathering powers including data retention, the surveillance of Twitter accounts, forcing people to give up computer passwords, ASIO stop-and-search powers, government authority to direct telecommunications companies about infrastructure and the power for ASIO to plant or destroy information on computers.”
Given the gravity, complexity and sheer volume of proposals and implications arising from the proposals, the window of a mere month for public comment and submissions to the Inquiry is far too small for any meaningful or considered response to the Terms of Reference.
Pirate Party Australia has requested an extension until at least September 30 for submission to the Inquiry.
“We recommend that all concerned individuals, activists and civil society also request an extension of the deadline to 30 September, 2012 at the very least to ensure wide consultation is possible and a considered response can be made to what are very expansive Terms of Reference,” said Brendan Molloy, Secretary of Pirate Party Australia.
Below is a template for the request of extensions. Committee Secretariat are usually quite accommodating and do try to facilitate contribution from individuals and civil society. The address to send the email to is: [email protected].
For those looking to network, protest and share information regarding the push for greater surveillance power, Pirate Party Australia is supporting Freedom Not Fear 2012 and urges all organisations and individuals that value privacy and wish to affirm the values of a free and open society to participate.
I am writing to you on behalf of Pirate Party Australia regarding the Inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation. We seek an extension until 30 September for submission to the inquiry.
We feel that given the extremely large Terms of Reference, and the gravity and detail of such issues, the window of one month is far too small to be adequate for the submission of a meaningful and considered response to the Terms of Reference of the inquiry. These issues are severe, and require wide consultation. We do not feel the current window appropriately facilitates this.
Please advise if this is possible, or what extension is feasible.
Pirate Party Australia