No worries? Examining Changes in Australian Surveillance Policy and the Puzzling Absence of Protest

Stream: Panel 35 - Human Rights & Democracy: Human Rights & Democracy Panel 1: The Democracy – Human Rights Nexus 
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 2.00 pm – 3.30 pm


The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill of 2015 introduced mass surveillance on a scale unprecedented in Australian politics. This paper situates this legislation in the history of Australian surveillance policy. It outlines the changes the bill introduces in the context of Australian human rights discourses and comparable policies and associated discourses in the United Kingdom and the United States. The paper shows that Australian discourses and protest movements surrounding the 2015 bill are surprisingly minimal compared to similar movements in the UK and the US, despite similarities in human rights discourses and the scope of the legislation concerned between the US, the UK and Australia. The paper draws on political cultures literature to argue that these differences are due to differences in the practice and conceptualisation of privacy, citizenship and government.


Sarah Logan (Presenter), University of Sydney
Dr Sarah Logan is an honorary felolw of the Sydney Cybersecurity Network. Prior to obtaining her PhD in International Relations from the Australian National University she worked in the Australian intelligence community. Her PhD thesis examined counterradicalisation policy in the US and the UK.