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Press freedom under the microscope as Senate launches inquiry

Media Release
Sarah Hanson-Young 23 Jul 2019

Freedom of the press and whistle-blower protection will finally get the hearing they deserve as the Senate votes in favour of an inquiry to be chaired by Senator Hanson-Young.

 

“This week’s arrest of four French journalists highlights how badly we need to rethink press freedom in Australia,” Greens media spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

 

“Press and whistle blower protections have been steadily eroded and the government just wants to sweep this under the carpet.

 

“Today the Senate voted for an inquiry into press freedom and whistle-blower protection showing that there are some in our Parliament who care about a frank and fearless media.

 

“The raids on the ABC and a Newscorp journalist sent chills through the country. The erosions of freedoms in Australia must be wound back.

 

“The ability of citizens to speak truth to power must be maintained and that is why whistle blowers must be protected and journalists allowed to do their job.

 

“This inquiry will get to the bottom of what has gone on and ensure a future for a free press in Australia.”

Terms of reference

That the following matters be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by the third sitting day of December 2019:

  1. disclosure and public reporting of sensitive and classified information, including the appropriate regime for warrants regarding journalists and media organisations and adequacy of existing legislation;
  2. the whistle blower protection regime and protections for public sector employees;
  3. the adequacy of referral practices of the Australian Government in relation to leaks of sensitive and classified information;
  4. appropriate culture, practice and leadership for Government and senior public employees;
  5. mechanisms to ensure that the Australian Federal Police have sufficient independence to effectively and impartially carry out their investigatory and law enforcement responsibilities in relation to politically sensitive matters; and
  6. any related matters.
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