The Attorney General’s Department has rejected a Freedom of Information request made by Pirate Party Australia treasurer Rodney Serkowski regarding draft national security legislation that was prepared in 2010 by that department.
“This is a disgraceful and troubling response from the Attorney-General’s Department,” Mr Serkowski commented. “They have completed draft legislation, prior to any transparent or consultative process, and are now denying access to that legislation, for reasons that are highly dubious and obviously politically motivated. The Department is completely trashing any semblance or notion of transparency or participative democratic process of policy development.”
“Where the legislative proposals almost certainly mean the complete erosion of fundamental freedoms like privacy, it is in the public interest that we are able to access the text of such proposals so as to properly inform public debate. We want transparent government and private citizens, not the opposite.”
Pirate Party Australia will appeal the decision of the Department to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) seeking to have the draft legislation and prepatory texts released.
A supplemental submission was made by Pirate Party Australia regarding the National Security Inquiry in response to an open letter made by Attorney General Nicola Roxon and the submission made by ASIO. Despite being received by the Committee Secretary over a week ago, it is yet to be accepted by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. The Pirate Party notes that ASIO were able to make a submission after the deadline.
“The so-called clarifications of the data retention regime by both ASIO and Nicola Roxon did nothing to allay our fears of having everything we do online tracked,” said Simon Frew, Pirate Party Australia’s Deputy President. “We felt it necessary to respond explaining how meta-data amounts to tracking every website every person visits, not by content, but by providing the IP address or web domain.”
“The fact that our supplemental submission has yet to be accepted heightens concerns that the Committee will rubber stamp legislation that we are being denied access to. The whole Inquiry is starting to look like a charade of a consultation with the result being pre-ordained long before the terms of reference were even announced.”