Govt heading for Senate majority on SSA Bill

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The government was sighting success with its controversial Strategic Services Act (Amendment) Bill in the Senate Tuesday evening.

Independent Senator Ian Roach hinted that he could support the measure, although he voiced concerns about certain operational aspects of the legislation.

Roach said there was a need to simplify the intelligence-gathering machinery.

He stated, too, that “drastic measures” are required in the face of the nature and extent of current crimes.

The government has insisted that a simple majority is required for passage of the Bill, which seeks to expand the powers of the so-called spy agency.

The support of a single independent senator is required for the government to pass the measure.

The opposition has opposed the legislation, stating that it would lead to an erosion of citizens’ rights.

The matter should be referred to a joint select committee, Opposition Senator Wade Mark said.

The amendment was earlier passed, with a simple majority, in the House of Representatives.

The opposition had voted against the measure in the House.

Attorney General Faris Al Rawi is piloting the legislation.

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