New security laws place restrictions on Australian media

2014-10-01 15:02

Shutterstock (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - New laws cracking down on media reporting of Australian security operations were passed by the parliament in Canberra on Wednesday as part of tougher security legislation.

Journalists, bloggers and whistleblowers who "recklessly" disclose information that relates to a "special intelligence operation" face up to 10 years in jail under the new legislation.

Any security operation can be declared "special" by the attorney general after an application by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

The legislation also enables the entire Australian internet to be monitored by ASIO and security forces with a single computer warrant.

"No-go" zones outside Australia

Secret service agents now have immunity from prosecution so long as their actions do not involve death, serious injury, sexual offences, torture or significant damage to property.

A second piece of legislation requires people who visit "no-go" zones outside Australia, such as Syria or Iraq, to prove they were not involved in fighting or terrorist activities.

The legislation was passed with only the Greens and some independent lawmakers voting against it, despite objections from media organizations, academics, lawyers and civil rights campaigners.

Attorney General George Brandis said the new security laws were the most significant reforms to the power of security agencies since the 1970s.

"What we have achieved tonight is to ensure that those who protect us, particularly in a newly dangerous age, have the strong powers and capabilities they need but we've also achieved the outcome that those strong powers are protected and balanced by strong safeguards," Brandis said as the bill passed the Senate.

Brandis ruled out suggested amendments requiring a sentencing judge to take into account public interest in the disclosure, saying they were unnecessary.

Read more on:    australia

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.