Australian governing parties hosed in digital rights election survey

Liberal and Nationals parties get lowest score in every category.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Digital Rights Watch (DRW) has released its scorecard [PDF] for the upcoming May 18 election, with the Liberal and Nationals parties running the board to get the lowest score in every category.

The charity used a survey sent to parties, as well as publicly available comments and voting patterns to create its scorecard, which focused on issues such as repealing or amending Australia's encryption laws, opposing the nation's metadata retention laws, supporting copyright safe harbour and fair use, and opposing the use of robo-debt

The next worst party according to the scorecard is One Nation; followed by the Australian Labor Party, which voted to put the metadata and encryption legislation in place; Clive Palmer's United Australia Party, and Centre Alliance were next.

Topping the survey was Pirate Party Australia, followed by the Australian Greens, and the Liberal Democrats.

Only Labor and the Liberal Democrats responded to Digital Rights Watch's survey.

Unlike in the 2016 election campaign when then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ran on the back of funding and tax breaks for startups and the AU$1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda, technology policy has been much rarer this campaign.

Last month, Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said a Labor government would have an "immediate" review on the economics of the National Broadband Network and make the company responsible for deploying NBN across Australia undertake free work to improve the in-home cabling of 750,000 fibre-to-the-node customers.

On Wednesday, Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy Ed Husic pledged that Labor would spent AU$3 million on the creation of Australia's first Blockchain Academy in Perth.

Once the Academy has proven itself, the model could be rolled out in other places around the nation, Husic said, and is an example of how Labor is supporting "the evolution of the nation's digital economy".

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