The haste of the Attorney-General's department in seeking to push through a data retention regime prior to the 2010 election ended up derailing the proposal, and media scrutiny and a Senate inquiry forced a change of tack from the department toward public consultation -- which the Labor government baulked at.

The timeline of the push by AGD for mandatory retention of Australians' telecommunications and internet usage data has become clearer from documents obtained by Crikey under freedom of information laws.