GetUp today called on Peter Dutton to categorically rule out granting the Australian Signals Directorate the power to secretly hack into Australian citizens’ emails, bank records and text messages.
The call followed reports in The Sunday Telegraph that the Department of Home Affairs in canvassing proposals to allow such surveillance to occur without a warrant, or even the knowledge of the nation’s most senior legal official, the Attorney General.
“This is yet another disturbing development from a government that has been quietly moving towards authoritarian surveillance and intimidation of its own citizens,” GetUp National Director Paul Oosting said.
“Last year, despite strong objection from the intelligence community, Peter Dutton was granted control of all Australia’s domestic and international intelligence agencies.
“It appears the concern behind that objection was justified. Mr Dutton’s office continues to pursue a suite of dangerous laws to increase the Minister’s personal power, while showing little regard for the the rule of law or the rights of ordinary people.
Mr Oosting said the proposed new powers are just the latest in a long pattern of Turnbull Government efforts to use the guise of security to clamp down on Australians’ civil liberties and right to participate in democracy.
“At the end of last year, at the exact moment the nation was finally celebrating the passage of marriage equality, the Turnbull Government quietly introduced a package of three anti-democratic bills,” Mr Oosting said.
“Attacking civil society organisations, the media and ordinary Australians’ right to participate in political advocacy, these bills pose an incalculable threat to Australians’ civil liberties and democratic rights.
“Ordinary Australians have shown they’re ready to fight for our democracy. Any representative who supports these dangerous and undemocratic bills will have to answer to the people they seek to spy on and disempower.”