There have been some new and interesting developments on the Assistance and Access Bill (2018), which I think are important to communicate.
Despite a growing list of concerns with the bill as it stands, Prime Minister Morrison and Minister Dutton continue to call for the bill to be passed, with pressure being put on the PJCIS to recommend that it be passed before the end of parliamentary sitting time in 2018. ITPA has joined with a number of other technology industry groups to insist that the PJCIS does not rush to recommend the bill.
It’s not just tech industry groups — privacy advocate groups (including the United Nations) and even journalists are now starting to warn about the proposed laws. But in what can only be described as a split within the LNP, the Senate President (a Liberal Senator) has come out in opposition to the bill as it stands, raising concerns that it may interfere with parliamentary privilege.
The tech industry has weighed in now as well, noting that if the bill is passed, a number of tech companies may be forced to leave Australia in order to protect the reputation of their products in the global market.
The Greens have a strong history of opposing bills such as this, and hopefully — especially given the fact that they are now a minority government in the lower house — they and rest of the crossbench will be able to halt the progress of the bill should it come to a vote. However, that’s not possible without the opposition of the Labor party. ITPA believes that it is absolutely in the interests of our industry to oppose the passage of this bill, and here’s where you, as a valued member of our industry, can help.
Electronic Frontiers Australia has put up a page that helps you to identify an appropriate Labor member or senator, provides you with their phone number to call them and share your views, and an opportunity to provide information on how your conversation went.
All it will take is a few minutes of your time — it may just help protect Australia against a damaging, ill-conceived bill that will have no positive impact on our country at all.