Home Government Tech Policy Encryption bill: Labor accuses PM of compromising national security
Penny Wong: "...The bill, as it is currently drafted, will make Australia less safe." Penny Wong: "...The bill, as it is currently drafted, will make Australia less safe." Featured

The Australian Labor Party has accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of compromising national security by insisting on having the government's encryption bill passed in its current form, and being unwilling to strike a compromise with Labor.

Labor Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Penny Wong told the ABC Insiders program on Sunday that though Labor was willing to pass part of the bill by this Thursday — the last sitting day of Parliament for the year — "Scott Morrison doesn't want that. He wants a fight, and I think compromising Australia's national security for those reasons is really beneath the Prime Minister".

Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton have pushed for the encryption bill — officially known as the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 — to be passed in its entirety by 6 December.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is inquiring into the bill, and has held five hearings so far. The final hearing is scheduled for 4 December.

Labor has offered to pass schedule one of the bill, the bit that gives new powers to the spy agencies, if it was only available to counter-terror agencies.

On Friday, Labor Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus wrote to Attorney-General Christian Porter saying that the Labor Party had been pushed too far.

Senator Wong, who is a member of the PJCIS, was asked by Insiders host Barrie Cassidy whether Labor, by dissenting with the government, had not left itself open to attacks about being soft on terrorism.

She responded: "Scott Morrison is doing what he did when he sought to move the Australian Embassy to Jerusalem. He's seeking to create a fight so as to distract attention from things like [Liberal MP] Julia Banks moving to the crossbench.

"...The bill, as it is currently drafted, will make Australia less safe. Let me read one very small part of a transcript from a company called Senetas which is responsible for encryption, not only of some of Australia's defence agencies and the AFP, but the US military and the Knesset.

"And it says about this bill, 'It compromises the security of citizens, businesses and governments. It will be easier for cyber criminals, terrorists, to target systems, and to be able to break into those systems."

"...we have said we are willing to pass a bill by Thursday, which gives appropriate powers, these power, to national security agencies with appropriate oversight to target criminals and people who are being investigated for child sex crimes. So we are willing to pass that by Thursday."

Senator Wong said she had been part of the PJCIS for five years. "We've dealt with 15 bills and we passed all of them and improved all of them with bipartisan support," she said. "This is the first time we've been in this position. We do not take it lightly. We believe that the prime minister is compromising Australia's national security and he should stop playing politics with national security to try to get around the fact that he's got a problem in his party room."

Asked whether there was room for compromise, Senator Wong responded: "Absolutely. In fact, the committee were working to a compromise position. The committee were working to a compromise position along the terms that I've just outlined. Let's give the powers to the national security agencies for the purposes of terrorist investigations and child sex crimes.

"And guess what happened? Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton blew the process up. That's what happened. And I think that the Parliament and the country are served much less well by virtue of that politicking around national security."

REASON TO CHOOSE TENDA MESH WIFI

Our Mesh WiFi system MW3 is the first in Australia market with price below AUD$200 for a set of three.

· Best valued product
· Strong signal covering up to 300m2 for MW3 and 500m2 for MW6
· Aesthetically pleasing and light weigh (blend into any room deco)
· Wireline backhauls supported
· Product units are pre-paired and easy to setup
· Not requiring phone number or email address to set up
· Wall penetration (better than other similar brands)
· Seamless WiFi roaming
· User friendly app with controls to setup a guest network, parental controls for disabling groups of devices you allocate to individuals, QoS and more

CLICK FOR MORE INFO!

LEARN HOW TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF A CYBER ATTACK

Australia is a cyber espionage hot spot.

As we automate, script and move to the cloud, more and more businesses are reliant on infrastructure that has the high potential to be exposed to risk.

It only takes one awry email to expose an accounts’ payable process, and for cyber attackers to cost a business thousands of dollars.

In the free white paper ‘6 Steps to Improve your Business Cyber Security’ you’ll learn some simple steps you should be taking to prevent devastating and malicious cyber attacks from destroying your business.

Cyber security can no longer be ignored, in this white paper you’ll learn:

· How does business security get breached?
· What can it cost to get it wrong?
· 6 actionable tips

DOWNLOAD NOW!

Sam Varghese

website statistics

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.

 

Popular News

 

Telecommunications

 

Sponsored News

 

 

 

 

Connect