Most watchers of government might have suspected that restructures and redundancies were used to quietly get rid of the worst performers. Some have se
We recently moved our readers to a new system. You may need to reset your password here to login.
Not a member ? Join here for free.
Forgot your password?
Home Portfolio Security & Justice Adam Henschke: New data laws risk scrutiny of whistleblowing
Text size :
TAGS national security, Whistleblower, Whistleblowing, WikiLeaks, public advocate, Reporters Without Borders
Heightened scrutiny of journalists metadata may mean public servants, who have limited whistleblower protections, will go straight to the internet. Their public-interest disclosures won’t receive cautious scrutiny prior to publication, possibly putting lives at risk.
The Australian government made some concession towards journalists when the new data retention legislation was passed by both houses of parliament last month. But that doesn’t mean a journalist’s metadata is protected from ever being accessed by authorities.
While much has been said about the importance of press and media freedom, another important aspect so far has received far less coverage: that seeking to discourage media involvement in reporting leaks on government practices might actually run counter to the national interest.
Under the new law, which will come into effect in 2017, the government and opposition have agreed to a secret warranting system.
Current whistleblower laws in Australia offer some protections to public servants, but others generally receive very little legal protection. Given the importance of the media to a functioning democracy, journalists are seen as deserving of special treatment.
Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.
The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.
Postdoctoral research fellow at the National Security College, Australian National University.
Read Related Content
Most watchers of government might have suspected that restructures and redundancies were used to quietly get rid of the worst performers. Some have seen it first hand. Now, it's official.