EFA welcomes the government’s intention to reform Australia’s electronic surveillance framework. The existing framework is by parts complex, archaic, confusing, and not fit for purpose. The work to replace it will be complex, but necessary, and EFA welcomes the government’s commitment to undertaking this task with the required dedication of time and resources to do it well.

Australia’s future as a liberal democracy depends in no small part on our ability to get these reforms right. A global trend towards authoritarianism, secrecy, and fear must be resisted. We are encouraged by the long-term trend towards greater transparency and oversight of surveillance powers, and the understanding of many agencies that their social licence to operate depends on Australians’ continued support for their work.

We have no desire to repeat the embarrassing failures of the past that have left Australia vulnerable and damaged the reputations of the agencies whose very existence relies on Australians’ continuing to believe they are necessary. The extraordinary powers these agencies are granted must always be used, and be seen to be used, in service of the best version of Australia we can imagine.

EFA is pleased to participate in the process of restoring trust in Australia’s surveillance powers.

Read our submission on the Reform of Australia’s electronic surveillance framework discussion paper.

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