Abbott bows to Labor data demand

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott agreed to a demand from Bill Shorten to modify the data retention legislation to better protect journalists' sources.

The Opposition Leader on Monday opened the door to breaking his pledge to support the government on national security. Labor had supported controversial security legislation to allow reporters to be imprisoned for up to 10 years for reporting on classified information.

But Mr Shorten today changed his position and Mr Abbott last night complied.

The ABC reported the prime minister offered to amend the bill, so agencies that wanted to access journalists' metadata for the purpose of identifying their sources would require a warrant before they started their search.

Mr Shorten said on Monday he wanted to ensure press freedom.