I rise to briefly contribute to the debate on the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014. It is commonly known as the government bill which introduces the new metadata laws. I oppose this bill. The government has used the threat of a terrorist attack from Islamic State to grossly invade the privacy of every Australian. In an opinion piece in the Mercury newspaper Bruce Felmingham, the principal of a Tasmanian economic consulting firm, wrote:
"There must be an exceptionally powerful argument for introducing such draconian laws in a pluralist, democratic society such as our own."
I agree with Mr Felmingham—and it is my view that the government has failed to make the argument for introduction of these draconian laws. It is my strong view that the government is misleading the Australian public over the government's capacity to respond to the threat posed by ISIS sympathisers and ISIS soldiers. This government already has the laws and the capacity to crack down on ISIS supporters if it chooses, and those laws are called sedition and treason. It is just that this government has chosen not to use existing laws to charge and put behind bars every Australian who assists in any way whatsoever our enemy the Islamic State and its members.