Home Government Tech Policy Dutton accuses Labor of dragging feet on encryption bill
Peter Dutton wants the encryption bill brought to a vote right away. Peter Dutton wants the encryption bill brought to a vote right away. Supplied Featured

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says he wants the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security to deal with the government's encryption bill "as quickly as possible", and accused Labor Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus of delaying things and "making excuses and massaging bills down to lowest common denominator".

He made the claims on Sky News on Wednesday, and also said Opposition Leader Bill Shorten should say immediately whether he supported what is officially known as Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018.

Dutton said there had been a bid to delay and obfuscate the process of bringing the government's encryption bill to a vote on the floor of the House.

He said he had spoken to Liberal MP Andrew Hastie, the chair of the PJCIS, about ways in which the committee could deal with the bill in an "expeditious way so that the Parliament could deal with it as soon as possible".

Labor's Richard Marles told the network that Labor had a good record on national security legislation, having worked with the government in a bipartisan way in the past.

But, he added, this did not mean that it would give the government a "blank cheque" on any legislation.

The draft bill was released for public consultation on 14 August and comments were accepted until 10 September. Thereafter, there have been two hearings before the PJCIS, on 19 October and 16 November. Further hearings are scheduled for 28 and 30 November and 3 December.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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