ANNIKA SMETHURST HIGH COURT RULING

15 April 2020

 





SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
 
 
MARK DREYFUS
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
 
 
ANNIKA SMETHURST HIGH COURT RULING 
 
Labor strongly welcomes the High Court’s decision that the Australian Federal Police raid on the home of journalist Annika Smethurst was unlawful.
 
This is humiliating rebuff for the Morrison Government and its continuing assault on the freedom of the press.
 
The Prime Minister shrugged off the raid on Ms Smethurst’s home at the time it happened, saying ‘It never troubles me that our laws are being upheld.’
 
Today the High Court has unanimously made clear that our laws were not being upheld and Mr Morrison should be deeply troubled by that.
 
All 7 judges agree that the warrant was unlawful and invalid – it was poorly expressed, it misstated the offence, it failed to properly inform Ms Smethurst of why the search was being conducted and it did not provide the AFP with sufficiently precise guidance.
 
Unlike the Morrison Government, Labor believes in freedom of the press and the public’s right to know.
 
For several years now Labor has been voicing concerns about the undermining of press freedom by this Liberal Government, and we came out in support of the Australia’s Right to Know campaign as soon as it launched.
 
Labor believes journalists should never face the prospect of being charged, or even jailed, just for doing their jobs;
 
Law enforcement agencies should never be raiding journalists just because they are embarrassing the government.
 
Labor is concerned that the High Court’s decision does not prevent Ms Smethurst or any other journalist, from being prosecuted, simply for doing their job,
 
The Morrison Government can no longer hide behind these legal proceedings, and must now immediately commit to ruling out the prosecution of journalists Annika Smethurst, Dan Oakes and Sam Clark.
 
They must also now commit to reform of the law that properly protects freedom of the press that addresses the concerns of the Australia’s Right to Know coalition
 
A strong and independent media is vital to holding governments to account, and Labor will continue to fight to defend and to strengthen press freedom.
 
WEDNESDAY, 15 APRIL 2020

MEDIA CONTACTS:
TIMOTHY DUNLOP (KENEALLY) 0428 043 110
STEPHEN SPENCER (DREYFUS) 0423 596 573
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.
 
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