Mark Dreyfus MP

Member for Isaacs
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Media Freedom - Statement to Parliament

22 October 2019

The Morrison Government must stop making excuses and introduce legislation to better protect journalists and whistleblowers.

MARK DREYFUS
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS -MEDIA FREEDOM

22 OCTOBER 2019

 

We in Labor will fight for freedom of the press and the public's right to know. They are fundamental pillars of our democracy. This should not be controversial. It should not even be up for debate, but the sad truth is that, when it comes to freedom of the press and the public's right to know, the Morrison government just doesn't get it.

We had the embarrassment of a Prime Minister whose response to the outrage of Federal Police raids on journalists and media organisations was to declare at a press conference that it didn't trouble him. It didn't trouble him because the journalists were being raided for embarrassing his government.

This government refuses to answer questions from journalists or members of the public, refuses to answer questions in parliament, ignores its legal obligations under freedom-of-information laws and uses the criminal law to intimidate people who embarrass it, including journalists and whistleblowers.

If this government is serious about freedom of the press, it needs to announce today that the three journalists now under investigation for embarrassing this government will not be prosecuted simply for doing their jobs. Journalists should not be prosecuted simply for telling the Australian people about matters that are unequivocally in the public interest.

Every day this intimidation continues, damage is being done to the public's right to know because every day this continues freedom of the press in our country is being undermined.

The Morrison Government must stop making excuses and introduce legislation to better protect journalists and whistleblowers.

ENDS