Election 2016: how do the parties rate?

DR-no-urlAs we’ve done in the past, we’ve prepared a detailed election scorecard rating a range of parties on their policies relating to digital rights issues.

Watch our Executive Officer, Jon Lawrence, discuss responses to our Election Policy Questionnaire (recorded on 21st June).

EFA Election 2016 Scorecard

Click on the image for a larger size, or Download as a PDF

Explanatory notes

What, no NBN?
We've decided not to include the NBN as a column in this year's scorecard for a number of reasons:

  • it's now very much a mainstream political issue
  • there are other issues we feel need to be highlighted
  • it's become such a hopelessly politicised issue, and is a lot more complex than can be meaningfully expressed in a graphical scorecard

EFA's position is that everyone has a fundamental right to broadband Internet access. Currently, that should involve a download speed of at least 25Mbps and an upload speed of at least 3Mbps. While we understand the focus on fibre-to-the-premises versus fibre-to-the-node, this argument ignores the predicament of people in rural and regional areas, whose needs are arguably more immediate.

Didn't Adam Bandt back the Greens away from supporting fair use?
We are aware of Adam's recent comments. We have however confirmed that Greens policy remains to support the introduction of fair use into Australia's Copyright Act, and that any change to this policy will require a party room vote. We're confident that Adam's comments were not intended to be, nor do they, represent any change to long-standing Greens support for fair use.

Why have you scored the Labor Party better than the Liberal Party on Surveillance?
Although Labor voted for the Data Retention legislation, they pushed hard for a number of important improvements to the legislation, such as the inclusion of a warrant requirement for access to journalists' data and better reporting. They also passed a motion at their most recent National Conference to review this legislation if they form the next government. While these are admittedly fairly minor factors, we felt they warranted a slightly better score.

Previous Scorecards

See how we've scored the major parties in past elections:
2014 WA Senate Re-Election | 2014 Griffith By-Election | 2013 General Election | 2010 General Election

Other Resources

Policy Questionnaire

We sent a detailed policy questionnaire to a wide range of parties, and where we've received a response, our analysis in the scorecard is based on that response. For those parties that are yet to respond, we've based our analysis on their voting history in parliament and their published policies. We use and recommend They Vote For You to analyse voting history.

We welcome responses from any parties not already listed - download the questionnaire here.

You can review the responses we've received (listed in order of receipt):

The Questions

General

Q. Do you support the principle of an open, free and secure Internet?

Open Government Partnership

Q. Do you support Australia’s involvement in the Open Government Partnership, which Prime Minister Turnbull recommitted Australia to in November 2015?

Encryption

Q. Do you accept that meaningful privacy and strong encryption technologies are critical and necessary enablers of communications and commerce across all contexts?

Q. Do you support the universal availability of strong encryption technologies?

Q. Will you oppose any laws or regulations that seek to undermine encryption and privacy technologies in order to provide law enforcement agencies with access to data?

Telecommunications Data Retention

Access to retained telecommunications data is currently available without a warrant, except where the subject of the request is a journalist.

Q. Do you support the extension of this warrant requirement to other groups, including to all members of society, as is currently the case in a number of EU countries?

Q. Do you believe that the current list of agencies able to access retained telecommunications data is sufficient? If not, please indicate which additional agencies you believe should also be able to access such data.

Q. Do you believe that the current two year retention period for internet data is appropriate? If not, please specify what retention period you believe is appropriate.

Intelligence Oversight

Q. Do you support increasing the oversight powers of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security over operational matters?

Q. Do you support a wide-ranging inquiry into Australia’s intelligence gathering capabilities and data sharing arrangements , particularly under the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ agreement which includes the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand?

National Broadband Network

Q. What is your position on the National Broadband Network?

Preferential Trade Agreements

Q. Do you support Australia ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement? Please provide reasons.

Q. Do you have a position on the prospective Trade in Services Agreement?

Q. Do you believe that the current processes for negotiating preferential trade agreements (either bilateral, such as the agreement with China or plurilateral, such as the TPP) are acceptably transparent and consistent with democratic principles?

Copyright Reform

In 2013 the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) recommended that Australia adopt a number of reforms to modernise the Copyright Act, particularly a broadening of the currently limited fair dealing exceptions to a much broader, flexible fair use exception, in line with US copyright law.

In December 2015, the Government released draft legislation which included reforms which address a number of key issues (such as extending the Safe Harbour scheme and facilitating the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty) but which fall well short of the introduction of a broad, flexible fair use exception.

In April 2016 the Productivity Commission issued a draft report which supported the ALRC’s recommendation for Australia to adopt a broad, flexible fair use exception.

Q. Do you support the limited reforms proposed by the Government in December 2015?

Q. Do you support the introduction of a broad, flexible fair use exception into Australia’s Copyright Act?

Copyright Enforcement

Q. Do you support the legislation passed in 2015 that gives copyright holders the ability to seek Federal Court injunctions to block access to Internet sites that they believe are primarily facilitating copyright infringement?

Q. Do you support a scheme that will require Internet Service Providers to serve notices on their customers that are alleged to have infringed copyright? If so, who should bear the cost for this scheme?

Censorship

Q. Do you support the introduction of mandatory internet filtering to try to prevent access to ‘harmful content’?

Office of the Australian Information Commission

Q. Do you support sufficient and long-term resourcing for the functions of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, including the appointment of the three statutory Commissioners (Information, Privacy and Freedom of Information – at present these roles are held by one person)?

Mandatory Data Breach Notification

Q. Do you support the introduction of a mandatory data breach notification scheme for entities covered by the Privacy Act (the current government committed to pass such legislation in 2015 but it has yet to happen)?

The Privacy Right of Action

Q. Do you support the introduction of a civil cause of action for serious breaches of privacy?

Census Data

Starting with the August 2016 Census, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will begin retaining identity information (names and addresses) collected as part of the Census.

Q. Do you support this change?

Health Records

The implementation of the MyHealth (Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records) program was recently changed from an ‘opt-in’ to an ‘opt-out’ arrangement.

Q. Do you support the implementation of the MyHealth electronic health record system on an ‘opt-out’ basis (ie where the default is to include everyone unless they proactively opt-out), or do you believe it should revert to an ‘opt-in’ approach?