Despite a raft of 173 amendments being proposed, acknowledgement that the legislation is flawed and the opposition of almost every technical expert, the Australian government and opposition have passed the new Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) though the House of Representatives and Senate last night. This is a striking blow to our cybersecurity and technology industry that will put the jobs of thousands of tech workers at risk and, in some cases, put them in a position where they could be jailed for not telling their bosses if they are creating backdoors into software at the request of government.
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The United Nations Special Rapporteur, Joe Cannataci, has told a joint parliamentary committee that the government's proposed “Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 will lead to invasions of privacy and do nothing to actually thwart crime. He told the committee that increased use of encryption is not a problem and that criminals will simply use their own systems rather than commercially available ones.
If, as predicted, the Morrison government loses the Wentworth byelection, it will have a minority on the floor of the lower house. Although the Coalition would have 75 members and the non-government parties and independents would have 75 members, the Coalition supplies the Speaker (who only votes when a vote is tied). This would leave the Coalition with 74 on the floor of the house, with the possibility of 75 votes opposing it.
Federal Liberal backbencher John Alexander MP has resigned from parliament today due to concerns he holds dual-citizenship with the United Kingdom. This resignation, along with the earlier High Court ruling is another failure of process where politicians who assumed they were in the clear have run afoul of the Australian Constitution.