After a few months of squabbling, Parliamentary reviews and a botched PR drive by the government, the controversial data retention Bill is being re-introduced into the House Of Representatives today.
The data retention Bill — or to give it’s full name the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 — will go back before the House this afternoon.
It was first tabled in Parliament late last year as part of the Government’s legislative drive aimed at squaring up Australia’s national security. The Government had the backing of the Labor Opposition for many of its national security Bills, but ran aground when it came to data retention.
The Opposition said that the Bill should be delayed until it could be properly scrutinised. Since then, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security handed down a series of recommendations designed to protect citizen privacy and prevent overreach.
The re-introduction of the Bill today comes after yesterday’s Government concession to protect the sources of journalists under the regime. The Government’s amendments mean that law enforcement agencies would have to get a warrant before trawling through a journo’s metadata to discover a source.
The Attorney General went on a publicity drive for the Bill this morning, saying that the legislation has nothing to do with journalists, and has everything to do with stopping terrorism.