In a joint statement, Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland and Shadow Digital Economy Minister Ed Husic said that the government's decision made "s a mockery of the exposure draft process", and suggested the the "consultation" was nothing more than "a sham".
The draft bill — officially known as the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 — was introduced into the lower house of Parliament on Thursday by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
"Instead, the government appears to have taken a tick-and-flick approach to an incredibly complicated bill, with potentially far-reaching consequence for the privacy and digital security of all Australians," the three said.
"Reflecting the complexity involved, when a similar bill was introduced in the UK, it took two years from announcement of the government’s policy to implementation of the bill."
Dreyfus, Rowland and Husic reminded the government of what they described as the "mess" that had been created when the "half-baked metadata bill" was handled in a similar way.
They said proposals that sought to provide security agencies with powers to bypass encryption and access personal communications "must be subject to robust and well-considered consultation".
"This includes rigorous scrutiny by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security once the Bill is introduced into Parliament to ensure proposed legislation is best targeted to combat those who seek to do Australia and our interests harm."
The Labor shadow ministers pointed out that protecting national security and enabling law enforcement agencies to operate effectively in the digital age was a bipartisan commitment.
"Labor is absolutely committed to ensuring our security agencies have the resources and capabilities they require to keep our community safe. In doing so, we need to ensure that Australians also have confidence that appropriate privacy safeguards and transparency measures are put in place, to ensure their rights and freedoms are protected as they go about their daily lives," they said.
"It is vital that the government engages in proper consultation processes when introducing entirely new national security laws with the potential to impact every Australian who uses a phone or computer. Without proper consultation, public confidence in these measures, and the agencies that use them, may be undermined. It is important to get this right and with its rushed process the government has not made a good start towards that outcome."