“No-one here in the government is standing up for media freedom”

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese were both quizzed today by Today‘s Tom Steinfort over the questions surrounding journalism raids and a free press.

Peter Dutton rejected calls to drop police action against three journalists (ABC & News Corp), declaring reporters are committing a crime by receiving top-secret documents.

“Nobody is above the law and the police have a job to do under the law,” he said.

“I think it is up to the police to investigate, to do it independently and make a decision about whether or not they prosecute.”

But Anthony Albanese, said, “Marise Payne, the foreign minster went overseas to this conference about press freedom but no-one here in the government is standing up for media freedom, and it is an embarrassment to our country.”

He added, “Quite clearly the government needs to show leadership on this issue.”

Peter Dutton noted: “These are laws that go back decades in western democracies like ours where, if you’ve got top secret documents and they’ve been leaked, it is an offence under the law and police have an obligation to investigate a matter referred to them..and they’ll do that.”

A parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security (PJCIS) to inquire into press freedom is due to report on October 17.

Via: The Age


  1. When media outlets get banned from press releases by the major parties due to what they have reported on in the past in my opinion is unacceptable. Journalists should be able to report on anything in the national interest without major consequences. The government must be held accountable for every decision they make.

  2. The media doesn’t need to report on everything the government is doing and there are things that the government should not have leaked or published. There needs to be a balance. The herald went with Dutton’s quote as the headline which is actually more accurate of the situation than Albanese’s whinging.

      • We elect a government to make laws. They can work out if something needs to change. Sounds like that is what they are doing. If we don’t like it, we vote them out or move to another country.

        • If only it was that easy. Almost everyone I know tried to vote them out, but alas they’re still there ! As for moving to another country, it’s a sad day indeed when Australian’s feel the need to move to another country because of archaic laws and authoritarian policies.

  3. It probably comes down to balancing the need for scrutiny with the need to prevent information being released that could potentially put safety at risk. What is the highest public interest. I think the current foreign minister is Marise Payne, not Maurice Payne as quoted in the article.

  4. And we wouldn’t want to hear of the Minister overruling immigration staff to let French au-pairs in for one of his AFL mates. Must be a great market for “Top Secret” (as opposed to just “Secret” ?) rubber stamp makers in Canberra.

    • The first documents a Cabinet Papers. Cabinet papers are classified as “Protected”, regarded as need to know and must be destroy after use. They are published after 30 years. This is essential to the working of the Westminster system and allows full and frank debate before Cabinet reaches it decision, and historical accountability. If everything discussed by Cabinet is weaponised into political attacks for the 20 minute newscycle the next day, government will be come even more dysfunctional than it is now. The last time the ABC was given Cabinet documents they handed them back, The Australian refused to do so. These documents contain details of Australian Intelligence services responses to cyber attacks, include those from hostile nations.

      The second are classified documents from an inquiry into allegations of War Crimes and contain details about Special Forces operations. They…

  5. Dutton doesn’t like being held accountable for mistakes he or his government makes. The media is doing just that, and it’s annoying him.

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