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Greens condemn Abbott and Shorten over back-room mass surveillance deal

Media Release
Adam Bandt 19 Mar 2015

The Australian Greens have slammed the rushed passage of the government's mass surveillance regime through the House of Representatives thanks to a back-room deal between Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten.

"Bill Shorten has thrown the beleaguered Prime Minister a surveillance lifeline that could cost in excess of $400 million in the first year alone," Senator Scott Ludlam, Greens communication spokesperson said today.

"The House just spent days debating a bill without having seen the thirty pages of detailed amendments that enact the deal reached between Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten. The people who have proclaimed to have concerns about this bill did not have time to read the amendments, let alone get their heads around how they will affect the bill," said Senator Ludlam.

"Labor have been prepared to roll over, but the Greens are not. We will make sure that this bill will be hard-fought in the Senate and it is time for those backbench Labor and Liberal senators who have concerns to speak out and not just surrender without question," said Senator Ludlam.

Adam Bandt MP, Greens Deputy Leader said it was unacceptable for the Government to expect MPs to vote on such critical amendments just minutes after they have been received.

"Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten have done a backroom deal on internet and smartphone surveillance laws and said to the public and Parliament 'just trust us'," Mr Bandt said.

"When you can't trust Tony Abbott on the budget or his pre-election promises, why on Earth would we trust him on an internet and smartphone surveillance regime?

"MPs were contemptuously given a handful of minutes to debate 74 amendments, denying the public and Parliament a chance to scrutinise the Abbott/Shorten backroom deal," Mr Bandt concluded.


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