PM Lies About Surveillance Law Claims: Labor

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s allegation According to the opposition, the fact that several surveillance and technology-oriented laws currently in parliament have no cross-party support is a “flat lie”.

On Tuesday, it became known that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) were involved in an FBI-led attack against organized crime that sought to compromise an encrypted app that criminals communicate with.

In front of the press to discuss the operation, Mr Morrison appeared to take the opportunity to try to force Labor into a number of laws currently before Parliament that would give law enforcement more powers.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo credit: Naresh777 / Shutterstock.com

But these bills either already have the support of the opposition or are currently the subject of an investigation by the bipartisan national security committee, said Shadow Interior Minister Kristina Keneally.

Mr Morrison, who said the spike operation was a “turning point in Australian law enforcement,” called on Parliament to pass identification and disruption and international manufacturing orders bills that would give law enforcement significant new surveillance and data collection powers.

He said these two bills do not have “bipartisan support”.

“The AFP and our law enforcement agencies that support them need the support of our Parliament to continue doing their job to keep Australians safe,” Morrison told the media.

“Our government will not escape from this and we urge all MPs to do this as we have done for so long and to achieve the results that we have seen today in particular.”

In response, Senator Keneally said the Prime Minister acted “completely wrong”.

“Mr. Morrison made a number of statements at his media conference that are absolutely false. Mr. Morrison lied flatly in his media conference about the legislation, ”said Senator Keneally.

“He’s been trying to make politics and that’s what Mr. Morrison is doing. And here he plays politics with national security. “

The identification and disruption law was presented to parliament late last year. It gives the AFP and ACIC new powers to hack into the computers and networks of suspected criminals.

The bill introduces three new arrest warrants that allow authorities to “disrupt” suspected perpetrators’ data, access their devices and networks even if they do not know their identity, and steal their accounts.

The bill was quickly sent to the PJCIS for investigation and this is ongoing.

On Tuesday, Mr Morrison said the bill “has no bipartisan support”. But while the legislation has been widely criticized by a number of digital rights, civil rights and legal organizations, Labor has not commented on it publicly, except through the bipartisan Standing Committee on Bills Review.

The bipartisan parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has been investigating the identification and disruption law for several months.

“He lied about ‘Identify and Disrupt’. This bill is currently in the bipartisan committee … no report has been submitted yet. It is wrong for Mr Morrison to suggest that Labor does not support this law, ”Senator Keneally said.

The other important law that Mr Morrison mentioned, the International Manufacturing Orders Act, would allow Australia to enter into an expedited data exchange agreement with the US under the CLOUD Act.

It would allow Australian authorities to request data directly from US companies without going through the judicial authorities, and vice versa. Australia has been in talks with the US about such an agreement since the end of 2019 and provided almost $ 10 million for the program in the May budget.

Mr. Morrision reiterated that this bill “has no bipartisan support”.

“This is cross-border access to electronic data that improves the effectiveness of Australian investigations and protection from law enforcement and serious crimes, including serious terrorism offenses. That bill is there. It has no bipartisan support and we have to get it passed, ”he said.

But just last month the PJCIS released its report on this bill, offering bipartisan support for a number of changes to be made.

The government-led committee recommended 23 amendments to the bill, including submitting any agreements made in it to parliament before signing it and giving it 15 days to reject it, as well as a number of privacy and data protection safeguards.

Labor has also previously spoken out in favor of such an agreement on the sharing of data with the US.

“[On the IPO bill] he lies flat. He may not realize that the bipartisan committee has made a unanimous bipartisan report. The Liberals and Labor MPs tabled a report in parliament saying that the IPO law should be supported, ”said Senator Keneally.

“Australians would understandably be dismayed if their prime minister just lies about national security and just makes up things. He plays shallow political games – he doesn’t care about national security, he just cares about political opportunities for himself. “

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via email or Signal.

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