The June 2019 Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on the ABC’s Sydney headquarters and Annika Smethurst’s home laid bare some critical tensions in our democratic systems that need urgent attention.
Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are tasked with keeping us safe and protecting our democracy. That is why we entrust them with extraordinary powers that go well beyond what ordinary citizens can lawfully do.
However, Australian authorities now have extensive powers to monitor citizens’ communications and devices, including those of whistleblowers and journalists. When granting those new powers to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, Parliament has not imposed corresponding safeguards to ensure that these powers are not misused and do not disproportionately limit our right to privacy, freedom of expression and the maintenance of a healthy democracy.
27 August 2019.