Parliamentary Committees play a vital role in the consideration of draft legislation. It is therefore important that Committees have before them comprehensive information about each proposal, so that they can conduct well-informed discussions and reach appropriate conclusions.
The APF submits that the context for the consideration of a Bill by a Parliamentary Committee needs to include the following features:
• clear documentation of the proposal
• clear documentation of the justification for the proposal
• prior consultations by the Blll's proponents with affected parties and/or representative and advocacy organisations acting on behalf of those parties
• depending on the nature of the proposal, complementary studies such as a risk assessment, a privacy impact assessment, and/or a regulatory impact assessment
• a summary of the outcomes of the consultation process
• clarity about the intentions of the Bill
• consolidated versions of the statutes that are amended by the Bill. This is critical to understanding its actual impacts, which may be different from the formalistic statements in the Explanatory Memorandum and from the polemic in the Second Reading Speech
• invitations to relevant parties to provide Submissions to the Committee
• sufficient notice to enable research to be conducted and Submissions drafted, reviewed and finalised
Since 2008, the APF has made a long series of public statements in relation to the Government's proposal to introduce new forms of body scanning technology. These are indexed at: http://www.privacy.org.au/Papers/indexPolicies.html#BS
The APF, in conjunction with the nation's four civil liberties organisations, prevailed upon the Office of Transport Security (OTS) to conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA). This was eventually conducted, but in a most unusual and highly unsatisfactory manner.
The PIA has never been effectively completed. The APF, in conjunction with the nation's four Civil Liberties organisations, provided a substantial submission on 30 September 2011 – copy attached – which concluded that:
"If your Office intends to continue with the proposal, then we submit that your Office needs to :
No response has been provided to that letter. Yet the Bill is now before the Parliament.
Image: Travelin' Librarian / flickr