Encryption bill becomes law after Labor caves
The controversial encryption bill has passed the Senate on its last day, after Labor withdrew its opposition to the legislation.
Labor voted with the government to allow the legislation to pass the upper house by an overwhelming 44-12 margin.
The Greens, the Centre Alliance and Independent Tim Storer were opposed.
The new anti-terror laws looked unlikely to pass this year after the House of Representatives did not vote on the Senate amendments to the bill.
But Labor in the Senate decided to support the unamended House version this evening, allowing it to pass.
Labor made the deal after the government agreed to a reassessment next year.
The legislation would give Australia's police and intelligence agencies the power to force apps like WhatsApp and Telegram to break encryptions.
The bill is intended to allow the agencies to monitor terrorists and criminals.
But technology insiders said the breadth of the legislation posed a threat to civil liberties and privacy.
"I've had so many calls to my office today about the encryption bill," Greens senator Mehreen Fahruqi tweeted this evening.
"Mostly the first time they've called a political office. Mostly people who live and breath tech and digital and can't fathom why Labor and Lib would this."
The Senate has now begun its Christmas break and will not sit again until February.