08 June 2018

Controversial espionage laws fail to protect democratic rights

This legislation remains a grave threat to our democracy and will reduce government accountability.


Despite handing down 60 recommendations, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has failed to protect journalists, civil society organisations, and basic democratic rights.

“Even if every single one of these recommendations is adopted, this legislation remains a grave threat to our democracy and will reduce government accountability,” GetUp National Director Paul Oosting said.

“A journalist or whistleblower communicating information that causes other countries to ‘lose trust or confidence’ in the Australian Government could face 25 years in prison.

“Let’s be very clear about what that means: instances where the Australian Government breaches international law – for example our treatment of people seeking asylum – will go unseen and unpunished.”

“People should be gravely concerned this legislation now has bipartisan support. The suggestion from Attorney-General Porter that this draconian legislation needs to be fast-tracked before the upcoming by-elections is nothing but a cheap political stunt aimed at avoiding public scrutiny.

“If this legislation is rammed through Parliament in the coming weeks, both the Labor Party and the Coalition will be guilty of betraying our democracy.

“The recommendations in this report fall woefully short. We call on all parties to put forward amendments to the legislation that will fully protect our democratic rights.”