National Security Reforms and Freedom of the Press
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In October 2014, the Abbott government introduced a ‘special intelligence operations’ (‘SIOs’) regime which provides immunity for Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (‘ASIO’) officers who commit unlawful acts in the course of specially-approved undercover operations. Attached to this regime is a secrecy offence, in s 35P of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (Cth), which prohibits the disclosure of any information relating to SIOs. This article considers the impact of s 35P on press freedom in Australia, and considers options for striking a more appropriate balance between secrecy and accountability. It suggests that a limited public interest exemption based on whistleblower protections in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth) would provide the most viable solution for reducing the impact of s 35P on press freedom.
Griffith Journal of Law & Human Dignity
© The Author(s) 2017. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, providing that the work is properly cited.
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