David Stuart

Data retention laws pass the lower house

UPDATE: The Abbott government's two-year data retention laws have passed the House of Representatives, and will now go to the Senate for debate.

After a late deal with Labor, the government secured the legislation's passage through  the lower house on Thursday, with Labor expected to support them when the laws reach the Senate.


THE Abbott Government has secured a deal with Labor, amending its controversial data retention bill in the House of Representatives this morning, which paves the way for passing it later today.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the House the laws were changed as part of the deal with the Opposition to include a new "public interest advocate".

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However, the change did not include an outright measure to ensure agencies should obtain warrants before accessing journalist's metadata, with such agencies instead required to present a case for the "national interest" on such cases to the proposed public interest advocate.

The amendment was passed on the voices, with only Greens MP Adam Bandt, Queensland MP Bob Katter and Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie voting against the amendment.

The changes mean Labor has accepted the government's bill, despite Opposition frontbenchers arguing against including the definition of metadata in committee, but the entire bill will be voted on later today.

With the Opposition's support, the government's bill was expected to pass the Senate once it is voted on officially in the House.