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Controversy Over ASIO Access To Access Card Information

by Staff Writers •
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Legislation for the Access Card will be withdrawn from Parliament after a Senate Committee recommended that it be re-drafted due to fears that it represented a threat to privacy. It appears that the most controversial feature, the compulsory photograph, may be in doubt.

The legislation was to have been the first of two tranches covering the card, but now all the legislation for the card will be introduced together in one bundle. The Minister, Chris Ellison announced that it was committed to having the legislation passed this year.

Controversy over the card was generated when representatives of ASIO and AFP told the Senate Committee that they may need to obtain information gathered and stored on access cards, and that ASIO did not need a search warrant to gain information. There is particular concern over access to the identification photograph that at present, is proposed to be compulsory.

Attempting to clarify the situation, ASIO Director-General of Security, Paul O'Sullivan told the Senate Committee that the organisation will not have online access to card information. Neither will ASIO officers be permitted to ask to see the access card of a person who is to be interviewed.

The Department of Human Services, said that it could refuse access to the information, forcing ASIO to obtain a search warrant.

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