The government will introduce its Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Bill to the House today and send it to select committee. Meanwhile, Attorney-General Chris Finlayson has rejected the proposal to pass the surveillance measures in the Search and Surveillance Bill because they're too complicated. So, he'd rather hand the police a blank cheque to stick cameras in our bedrooms rather than do his fucking job. Why are we paying him $250,000 a year again?
Fortunately, there's another, easier solution out there. The Crimes Act already includes provisions allowing for the use of interception devices - wiretaps and hidden microphones - to intercept private conversations. These provisions could be modified to allow use of video surveillance, or if that is too complicated, cloned and reinserted.
This has several advantages. The Crimes Act provisions are limited to organised criminal offending, serious violent offences, and terrorism. They require the police to get warrants, and prove that their surveillance is actually necessary, that they can't get evidence in less intrusive ways. And the law is well understood by both police and judges, meaning that it is unlikely to have unforeseen consequences.
I am not a lawyer. But I have drafted legislation before, and it does not seem too difficult to modify those clauses in the desired way. So why doesn't Parliament do this for future surveillance, rather than just giving the police a blank cheque?