Australia: Labor and Coalition pass flawed cybercrime bill despite report from their own committee

Labor and Coalition pass flawed cybercrime bill despite report from their own committee

Media release: Senator Scott Ludlam, Wednesday August 24th, 2011

The Australian Greens have questioned the decision of the Government and Opposition to pass the Cybercrime Bill unchanged through the House of Representatives despite recommendations by their own members of parliament to fix serious flaws.

The Greens communications spokesperson, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, said the Cyber Safety Committee had tabled a highly critical unanimous report on the bill, proposing a series of amendments and requests for clarification which were not addressed in the House.

“The cross-party committee identified a series of flaws in the bill, yet in the House of Representatives Labor and the Coalition alike seemed entirely untroubled by this.

“The Attorney General said today he was considering the report before the debate in the Senate. The Australian Greens look forward to working with both parties to fix this fundamentally flawed bill in the Senate, but we are greatly troubled by the fact that both the Labor Party and Coalition gave no indication in the House that they believed any of the flaws needed fixing. On the contrary, they had nothing but praise for the bill.

“We all want to see enhanced collaboration between law enforcement agencies fighting serious crime, but the proposed law goes well beyond the already controversial European convention on which it is based and will encroach on civil liberties.

“The European Treaty doesn’t require ongoing collection and retention of communications, but this bill does. Under the Convention police are not required to pass on data if it relates to a political offence or if passing on the data is inconsistent with human rights standards, but this bill contains no such exemption. These are disturbing flaws that must be fixed, but the Government and Opposition have passed this bill through the House with no acknowledgement of that.”

The unanimous multi-party Report:

The Australian Greens additional comments:

Media Contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302

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