I felt I had to send a submission around the Bill to expand the surveillance powers for the GCSB, It is being conducted under urgency and only allowed a couple of days for submissions. There are a number of issues with this of which I submitted around 3 of them.
Thank you for the opportunity to file a submission relating to this bill.
Whilst I understand the need for certain secrecy around matters relating to National Security, the method as to which this bill is being passed and the content of the bill gives cause for concern.
- Urgency – In the past few years, this government has a tendency to pass unpopular bills under urgency. Urgency is not to be used to suppress dialogue and discussion on topics of importance to the nation. In addition, given the recent past performance of the GCSB, SIS and government in relation to surveillance matters, proper discussion of these matters is not only the right thing to do, but imperative to allay fears of collusion and heavy handedness.
- There is nothing to indicate why the current laws are inadequate to deal with these new issues. These are the expanding of powers rather than the creation of unique solutions. This indicates that current laws would be sufficient if applied correctly.
- Broadening the scope of the SIS/GCSB powers effectively breaks down the required barriers between the separate areas (Police,GCSB etc) which in turn opens up the abuse of these powers. While the phrase “efficiency” or “expediency” may be used, these also need to be matched up against “safeguards” and “proper process”. In short the quickest way may not be the best way.
In short, with a bill of such importance, not allowing for full discussion both inside and outside parliament means mistakes will be made that could have disastrous consequences.
Thank you for your time