Further police crackdown on journalists highlights importance of Senate inquiry into press freedom, Greens say.
“The arrest of journalists in Queensland today is incredibly alarming,” Greens media spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“A free press is a fundamental pillar of democracy and it seems, here in Australia, it is under threat. Arresting journalists for doing their job has eerie echoes of a police state.
“The impact of what is happening in the Galilee Basin will affect us all and it is imperative that the community debate and concern can be reported on.
“We urgently need a thorough examination of press freedom in Australia to ensure those who hold power to account are able to keep doing their job without fear or favour. The Senate has the opportunity to vote for just such an inquiry tomorrow.
“Australia’s international reputation is at stake when foreign journalists are arrested, held and charged for reporting what is going on 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:
- 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;
- the whistle blower protection regime and protections for public sector employees;
- the adequacy of referral practices of the Australian Government in relation to leaks of sensitive and classified information;
- appropriate culture, practice and leadership for Government and senior public employees;
- 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
- any related matters.