Roxon has paused data retention plans, says SMH


blog It’s not often you hear words of common sense emanating from Federal Attorneys-General with relation to technological issues — normally they’re far more interested in holding secret Internet piracy meetings without consumer representation, developing plans to monitor all Australian communications, avoiding pesky Freedom of Information requests; you know, the usual humdrum day to day stuff.

But according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the current AG Nicola Roxon may have come to see the light on the unpopularity of her department’s current wide-reaching surveillance package currently before the Federal Parliament’s Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. The newspaper reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“A controversial internet security plan to store the web history of all Australians for up to two years has been stalled by the federal government until after the next election.”

As shocked as we are that Roxon could be finally heeding the howls of protest emanating from other political parties, digital rights lobby groups, conservative thinktanks and, well, the general population of Australia regarding the surveillance package, it is true that the proposed new legislation will be unpopular. Is Labor desperate enough to win the next Federal Election that it will shelve this package until afterwards — as it appears to have done with its mandatory Internet filter? Roxon’s office hasn’t yet responded to an invitation by Delimiter today to confirm the story. Only time will tell.


  1. People need to remember there is something called the senate. Labor does not have a majority in the senate. They are very very unlikely (probably impossible) to get a majority in the senate.

    The party that is very likely to hold a majority if Labor wins and probably if Liberals win are the greens who are opposed to such plans.

    Whether or not they’ve dropped their plans, they’ll never get them through the senate.

      • This opposition supporting a Labor motion!!!
        Who would’ve thought…

        Seriously though, I had no idea they supported it. Maybe I should start to get worried :/
        At least censorship won’t come in.

        • yep so in other words data retention will be back eventually. It’s important not to get complacent over this news.

  2. And make sure we never give one party the upperhand in both the lower and upper houses. If we do give them that mandate every damn hairbrained scheme they come up with will get passed.

  3. “As shocked as we are that Roxon could be finally heeding the howls of protest emanating from other political parties, digital rights lobby groups, conservative thinktanks…”

    I’m not shocked at all by this move, Labor have a track record of putting these sorts of IT policies on the table for consideration and then reacting appropriately to the negative reactions to them. Conroy did the exact same thing with the mandatory filter. They kept up the pretence of still being “committed” to the legislation in the face of the backlash of dropping the CPRS, but since then have quietly let the topic drop out of debate.

    IMO there is little chance of these sorts of policies getting up while one party is balanced by a healthy Senate, there is too much political bank to be made by opposing them and it is exactly the sort of oversight that the Senate is supposed to be able to wield. The biggest threat is one party holding both houses, which I would argue there is Buckley’s chance of happening with Labor, but every chance of happening with the Coalition.

    • Conroy did the same thing with the filter … not quite true. He quietly dropped it after 2-3 years of concerted lobbying and public pressure. It wasn’t easy, I assure you.

  4. Howard was elected with a majority in both houses if my memory serves me right. It isnt easy to use democracy to pressure the elected reps, but it is made so much harder if we give them a mandate in the Senate as well as the house of reps. “Healthy Senate” I like that.

  5. Great. So this policy, this apparently Vital To National Security plan has been cancelled.

    Not stopped after consultation (because there was very little).

    Not stopped after a through review of the issue has shown it unworkable, or that certain aspects might be considered viable or necessary.

    Noooo… it’s just dropped for 2 years because it’s politically unfavourable.

    Obviously I’m not unhappy about it, it just annoys me to see policy get turfed out the door for reasons completely unrelated to the actual policy.

  6. It’s important to remember that we still need to make submissions to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security to provide tangible feedback on this issue. One of the possible (intentional?) outcomes of this announcement is that people breathe a sigh of relief and don’t bother to put in submissions. When the proposals eventually get revived, the government of the day can point to the lack of submissions and say, “See, there’s no real opposition to these proposals…”

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist by nature (I usually assume incompetence rather than malice), but it wouldn’t surprise me if the announcement has been made in full awareness of the likely effect of reducing people’s sense of urgency about putting in a submission.

  7. I like incompetence
    Either the AG stopped and had a think about this decision, reflected accordingly and backed down

    or, it is a hair that can break the camel’s back issue in regard to democratic procedure (remember that?) and although the AG would like to kiss Janet Napolitanoes a**e, she has to listen to her bosses, be them the people above her or the people below her.

    Either way, move on, nothing further to see here – until next time

  8. Do Not Vote Labor or Liberal/ LNP at the next Federal Election as once either Party is Elected they will introduce this Legislation. They are very sly and cunning folks.

    Put simple if you go ahead and vote for them at the next Federal Election in 2013 they will guaranteed 110% introduce this new Legislation if they lie and bs to the public / voters they will still go ahead with it so DO NOT vote for these two major parties is the best and most simplest solution. They are far worse than car salesmen !!!

    Remember without the people/ voters/ tax payers they are totally powerless and the people/ voters determine and chose who is the Government of the day.

    The people/ voters call the shots.

Comments are closed.