Australians have witnessed a shocking erosion in their civil liberties over the last 17 years. The Labor and Liberal parties, working together, have imposed additional restrictions on civil liberties every year since 2001. These have included:
- Internet censorship and web blocking, with the list of websites rapidly expanding.
- Criminal penalties for investigative journalists who view documents which government agencies wish to conceal.
- Laws forcing ISPs to collect metadata for warrantless access by authorities. After promising tight controls, the law has created an open slather, with Australians’ internet histories now being trawled more than 1,000 times a day by dozens of agencies not mentioned in the original law.
- New powers to monitor private communications, retrospective warrants, higher penalties for whistleblowing, extra powers to cover up scandals such as the East Timor bugging, and many more besides.
One of the worst of these laws came along at the end of 2018, when the major parties colluded to rush through the new Assistance and Access Bill.