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Hours after announcing plans to spy on every Australian’s online activities to “fight terrorism”, Tony Abbott is now saying it could also be used to fight general crime.

“Tony Abbott needs to level with ‘Team Australia’: does he want to spy on Australians to fight terrorism, general crime or both? It seems national security is being used as a cover to treat every online Australian as a suspect,” said acting Greens Leader, Adam Bandt MP.

“Without providing any detail to ‘Team Australia,’ Tony Abbott is already engaging in mission creep.

“The Greens believe in fighting terrorism and in reducing crime with measures that work but spying indiscriminately on every Australian is not the way to do it.

“Tony Abbott is also wrong to claim that ISPs already store meta data.

“The ISPs have consistently said that they only collect a limited amount of data, usually only for billing purposes and there is a big difference between what they store and providing this information to the Government and its agencies.

"If the government suspects people are engaging in illegal activities online, it should have to seek a warrant, as is the case with other kinds of communication."

“We already know that of the 300,000 requests for meta data, only a fraction were national security related.

“Using a non-specific emergency, without any detail and without the national terror threat level changing, suggests the government is using national security as a pretext to introduce tougher anti-privacy laws.

“You can fight terrorism without sacrificing our freedoms and another key bulwark the Greens want to see in place is Parliamentary oversight of data collection by governments,” said Mr Bandt.

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