Statement - Encryption Bill

Labor has spent five years responsibly improving national security legislation to make Australians safer, and we have done the same thing today. 

MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
 
ENCRYPTION BILL
 

Labor has spent five years responsibly improving national security legislation to make Australians safer, and we have done the same thing today. 
 
The government have made important concessions on its earlier positions on the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill.
 
It appears the government will agree to proposals by Labor that will ensure there is better oversight and limitation of the powers in this bill, and better safeguards against potential unintended consequences. These are still subject to agreement by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, and further details will be contained in its report on the bill.
 
The changes include limiting the application of the powers in this bill to only serious offences, properly defining key terms in the bill, and requiring a “double-lock” authorisation process for Technical Capability Notices.
 
Importantly, the PJCIS will continue its scrutiny of the bill into 2019, allowing for outstanding concerns to be worked on and further amendments considered in the new year if necessary.
 
Following the extraordinary interference with this committee by the Minister for Home Affairs and Prime Minister, Labor welcomes the constructive negotiations conducted with the Attorney-General over the past two days.
 
Let me be clear – this bill is far from perfect and there are likely to be significant outstanding issues. But this compromise will deliver security and enforcement agencies the powers they say they need over the Christmas period, and ensure adequate oversight and safeguards to prevent unintended consequences while ongoing work continues – just as Labor proposed.
 
I want to issue a call to the government – the trashing of bipartisan process and politicisation of national security that has occurred over the past month must never happen again. There is nothing more important than keeping Australians safe – the government must remember that.
 
TUESDAY, 4 DECEMBER 2018