MARK DREYFUS MP
SENATOR THE HON KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
LABOR SUPPORTS MEDIA FREEDOM BUT MORRISON STILL DOESN’T GET IT
Labor congratulates the Right to Know Coalition for their historic, united campaign for media freedom and the public’s right to know, and for taking a stand against the Morrison Government’s intimidatory assault on our democracy.
All Australians, as well as friends in democracies around the world, were shocked earlier this year to see Australian Federal Police raiding the offices of media organisations and the home of a respected political journalist.
The Prime Minister dismissed widespread public concerns about these raids with a wave of the hand and a glib one-liner saying “it never troubles me that our laws are being upheld.”
This is typical from a Prime Minister who is loose with the truth and repeatedly avoids answering even the simplest questions that seek to hold him accountable to the Australian people.
What we are seeing with this third term Liberal Government is an ever-growing culture of cover-up and denial. Led by Scott Morrison, this Government:
- refuses to answer questions from journalists or members of the public;
- ignores its legal obligations to provide information to journalists or members of the public under freedom of information laws; and
- uses the criminal law to intimidate people who embarrass them, including journalists and whistleblowers.
This arrogant Government believes no one is above the law except them.
Scott Morrison and his senior ministers treat “press freedom” as if it were an inconvenience rather than as an essential pillar of our democracy.
When asked about the raids by a journalist, the Communications Minister threatened to end the interview.
Peter Dutton’s Department of Home Affairs refused to provide basic information on how many covert warrants had been obtained to investigate journalists.
And such is their contempt for the public’s right to know, the Morrison Government refuses to even appoint a standalone Freedom of Information Commissioner.
Labor stands side by side with the Right to Know Coalition and calls on the Morrison Government to:
- rule out the prosecution of Dan Oakes, Sam Clark and Annika Smethurst
- better protect journalists whose only “crime” is doing their jobs.
- fully comply with its obligations under freedom of information laws;
- protect whistleblowers.
Labor believes a strong and independent media is vital to holding governments – and opposition parties – to account and Labor will continue to stand with journalists and the Right to Know Coalition to fight to defend and to strengthen press freedom.
MONDAY, 21 OCTOBER 2019