Labor Bill Shorten national conference

RIGHTS ERODED

The Australian Parliament has passed unprecedented encryption-busting surveillance powers after Labor leader Bill Shorten caved to pressure on national security concerns and a rushed voting schedule, engineered by the Coalition to avoid a defeat over medical transfers in offshore detention.

The Guardian reports that Labor passed the Assistance and Access Bill — voting against its own amendments — in the Senate late last night, while filibustering by Coalition senators, Cory Bernardi and Pauline Hanson helped stop offshore transfer legislation from moving to the House of Representatives. Labor will aim to retroactively add encryption safeguards when Parliament resumes next February. However, the legislation as it stands means Australia now has the worst encryption rights in the Western world.