The Courier-Mail

Senate lets new data law through

- ELISE SCOTT

AUSTRALIAN­S will have two years of their metadata stored by phone and internet providers after the Abbott Government’s controvers­ial data retention laws passed Parliament last night.

But it is unclear how much will be added to internet users’ monthly bills.

The Government believes the laws, which allow about 85 security and policing agencies to access two years of an individual’s metadata, are crucial to thwart terrorism attacks and prevent serious crime.

The scheme will cost $400 million a year, but the Government will not reveal its share until the May Budget.

A government-commission­ed review found the scheme would cost about $3.98 a customer each year if no taxpayer assistance was provided.

Metadata includes the identity of a subscriber and the source, destinatio­n, date, time, duration and type of communicat­ion.

It excludes the content of a message, phone call or email and web-browsing history.

Attorney-General George Brandis said telcos had collected this type of data for 20 years, however the cost of storage meant it was more likely to be discarded, degrading police and security agency investigat­ions, he said.

Labor backed the laws after the Government agreed to dozens of changes and a specific warrant safeguard for journalist­s.

Palmer United Party Senator Zhenya Wang also sided with the Coalition.

The Government did not win support from the Australian Greens or several crossbench­ers, who fear the laws are an invasion of privacy.

Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm condemned the laws as an ineffectiv­e anti-terrorism tool and accused Senator Brandis of being “more obedient to the Australian Federal Police than some of their sniffer dogs”.

Independen­t Senator Jacqui Lambie said imposing the death penalty on convicted terrorists would be a more successful national security plan.

The Greens unsuccessf­ully tried to amend the Bill to require warrants for most metadata access.

 ??  ?? SUCCESS: Attorney-General George Brandis.
SUCCESS: Attorney-General George Brandis.

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