Porter proposes more protection
The Federal Government is reportedly looking to improve whistleblower protections for public servants.
Attorney-General Christian Porter says he is planning an overhaul of the Public Disclosure Act to make the existing whistleblower scheme easier to use and provide better protection for bureaucrats, according to News Corp reports.
Mr Porter is likely to work with findings from an independent review of the current laws in 2016, led by Philip Moss.
That review recommended measures to encourage a “pro-disclosure culture”.
The current scheme has been criticised in particular by Federal Court judge John Griffiths, who called the legislation “technical, obtuse and intractable” in April this year.
Mr Porter says he wants to make the public servant whistleblowing scheme simpler, but claims journalists reporting leaks are already protected enough.
This is despite police raids on two media outlets this month, with AFP officers looking for details of leaked Defence papers and leaks about plans for the Australian Signals Directorate.
Last year, the passage of the Espionage and Foreign Interference Act created a new public interest defence that journalists can use to persuade a judge their story was in the public interest.
“The defence attaches to all of the new secrecy provisions and my view is the new secrecy provisions actually provide a significantly higher level of protection to journalists than the old secrecy provisions,” Mr Porter told The Australian.