Data retention part of "Team Australia" approach: Abbott

AFTER a week of his frontbench struggling to explain the government's plans for metadata retention, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has sent voters a message via the internet.

Mr Abbott last week announced two more tranches of national security reforms, which intelligence agencies have long pushed for, in a bid to crackdown on Australian-born jihadists returning from war zones.

The changes, Mr Abbott said, were part of a "Team Australia" approach to national security, but several prominent government members have struggled to explain them in the past week.

It is understood the changes would include making communications companies keep metadata - such as times and places of phone calls and internet access - for two years.

Mr Abbott took to YouTube to promote the national security reforms, saying the reforms were essential for a "safe and secure Australia".

Despite no change in the risk of domestic terrorism attacks on Australian land, Mr Abbott said the threat was "real and growing" on Sunday.

"As part of these plans, we want telecommunications companies to keep their data," he said.

"We don't want to collect new data - but to ensure the limited data already collected can be accessed by authorities to build a case against those who have or are planning to commit crimes."