Opposition Chief Invoice Shorten backed down on the nationwide safety legal guidelines however accused Mr Morrison of holding Parliament “hostage”.

“I don’t bluff with the protection of Australians. I don’t play a recreation with the protection of Australians,” Mr Shorten stated.

“This authorities went dwelling with out doing their job. I gained’t.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten cross paths during a tense final sitting day of the year.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Chief Invoice Shorten cross paths throughout a tense last sitting day of the yr. Credit score:Alex Ellinghausen

The controversy on the asylum seeker modifications and the encryption legal guidelines left the federal government with out sufficient time to resolve the third coverage dispute of the day – a brand new competitors regulation that might break up massive vitality corporations.


The divestment energy, to be overseen by the Australian Competitors and Client Fee, is a component of the “massive stick” powers Mr Morrison desires to make use of to strain the vitality corporations to scale back their costs.

The vitality invoice was handed by the decrease home however not by the Senate, delaying it till subsequent yr and depriving the federal government of an instantaneous menace to the vitality corporations to pressure them to decrease costs from January 1.

The federal government demanded Labor go new legal guidelines to offer safety companies better energy to intercept on-line communications, regardless of warnings from expertise corporations that the measures weakened privateness and safety.

Whereas Labor pushed for amendments to the invoice all through the day, it caved to the federal government’s calls for and handed the invoice within the type agreed by the federal government shortly earlier than 7pm.

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The result provides safety companies the flexibility to intercept encrypted messages on companies like Whatsapp and Fb, requiring these corporations to work with police to watch suspected terrorists or criminals.

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne accused Labor of being smooth on terrorism as a result of it had prevented the sleek passage of the encryption legal guidelines.

“Labor has chosen to permit terrorists and paedophiles to proceed their evil work with a purpose to have interaction in level scoring,” Mr Pyne tweeted at about 4pm, earlier than deleting that declare quickly afterwards.

Mr Shorten introduced shortly earlier than 7pm that Labor would go the legal guidelines as a result of it didn’t need Australians to be uncovered to safety dangers over the summer time break earlier than Parliament resumes in February.

He stated it was “garbage” to counsel he had backed down on the encryption legal guidelines and insisted he needed to be the “grownup within the room” to go the modifications when Mr Morrison had left Parliament whereas the Senate was nonetheless debating the legal guidelines.


“They have been prepared to play hen with nationwide safety legal guidelines,” Mr Shorten stated.

The federal government ways pressured Labor to determine whether or not to amend the invoice within the Senate, and subsequently postpone the ultimate regulation till the Home of Representatives thought-about these modifications subsequent February, or vote for the invoice with out amendments and make it regulation instantly.

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Mr Shorten had few choices as a result of the decrease home rose at 5pm on Thursday and couldn’t think about any amendments from the Senate till subsequent yr.

“Let’s simply make Australians protected over Christmas,” Mr Shorten stated.

“I’m not prepared to go dwelling and see a terror occasion occur, which we’re informed is much less doubtless than extra doubtless.

“I’m not going to have on my conscience Mr Morrison’s hostage-taking ways the place he cancels his personal work and so they go dwelling, after which we simply go away Australians swinging within the breeze. That’s not who I’m.”

Crossbench MPs Rebekha Sharkie, Julia Banks, Kerryn Phelps and Cathy McGowan exit the chamber.

Crossbench MPs Rebekha Sharkie, Julia Banks, Kerryn Phelps and Cathy McGowan exit the chamber.Credit score:Alex Ellinghausen

Whereas the federal government handed its nationwide safety legal guidelines, it went on the assault in opposition to Mr Shorten for making an attempt to amend migration legal guidelines.

The amendments to migration legal guidelines sought to limit the discretion of the immigration minister to reject medical transfers of asylum seekers from Nauru and Manus Island.

The modifications would pressure the hand of the immigration minister to relocate an asylum seeker to Australia if two docs really useful the switch. The minister might refuse to take action, however would face an additional advice from an skilled medical panel.

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If the panel insisted on the switch, the minister must permit it except there was an opposed safety discovering by the Australian Safety Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) – the one grounds on which the refusal might stand.


Immigration Minister David Coleman stated this meant any two docs in Australia might pressure the switch of an asylum seeker, undermining the offshore processing regime that has stopped boat arrivals.

“Underneath this invoice, if one or two docs, by way of Skype in Hobart, say that somebody on Nauru ought to come to Australia for evaluation – not even remedy, merely evaluation – that might happen even when the docs who’re really on Nauru, and truly seeing that individual, say it’s not required,” Mr Coleman stated.

Mr Morrison stated Labor had been telling voters they have been “the identical as us” on border safety however have been exhibiting they’d a special method that might weaken border safety.

“I’ll struggle them utilizing no matter instrument or tactic I’ve accessible to me to make sure that we don’t undermine our border safety legal guidelines,” Mr Morrison declared.

“That is about Australia’s security and Invoice Shorten is a transparent and current menace to Australia’s security as a result of he’s so obsessive about politics that he can not see the nationwide curiosity.”

David Crowe is the chief political correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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