The Senate is expected to pass a range of legislation on Tuesday that would protect the rights of Australians to speak out on political matters, including a range, including the removal of the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’.
Key points: The government is moving to tighten its grip on freedom of speech by introducing a number of measures including the right to be heard, the bill to remove the so called ‘right’ to be remembered, and a number that could see whistleblowers and journalists arrested source News: Under the bill, whistleblowers and political whistleblowers could face jail time if they reveal the identity of whistleblowers who may have broken the law.
Under the new legislation, whistleblowers who have broken any of the following laws would face a fine of up to $250,000 or up to three years in prison if they disclose the identity: 1) the identity, address, telephone number or email address of a person to whom they are compelled to disclose information under a law; 2) a person or entity that is not required to disclose the information to the person or to the entity; 3) a political party, a candidate, an organisation, or an official or a person acting in a capacity or on behalf of a political group; or 4) a body, agency or instrument of the Commonwealth, the State or Territory Government or the Australian Capital Territory Government.
The proposed legislation also includes the provision that whistleblowers and people who are the subject of criminal proceedings will be able to access a court application to have their rights to be a witness restored.
But the bill could also see whistleblowers arrested for their political activism, and political organisations and organisations that support or participate in political activity being able to seek a ban on them from public office.
The bill will be discussed at a hearing at the Upper House tomorrow, but there is no guarantee that the government will be successful in getting the Bill through the Senate.
Key issues include: 1.
What is the definition of ‘political activity’?
A ‘political party’ is defined as any organisation, political party or candidate or any body, person or institution which is engaged in, or is considered to be engaged in by, political campaigning, political agitation, public advocacy or advocacy for a political cause.
Who is covered by the legislation?
The bill covers anyone who has engaged in any political activity that: (a) has the potential to influence or affect public policy; or (b) has a potential to have a material impact on a court or a political body; or 3.
What are the legal consequences of not complying with the legislation.
“Political activity” is defined in the bill as ‘any activity that involves, or may involve, the preparation or receipt of information that may be useful in influencing public policy, or that can be used to influence public policy in the course of an activity’; ‘political agitation’ is ‘any political activity involving the preparation of or receiving information which could have a materially adverse effect on public policy’; and ‘political advocacy’ is a ‘political campaigning activity that promotes or encourages a political candidate, political group, or political party to seek or to exercise an election to an office’.
“Under the legislation, any person who knowingly contravenes the legislation could face a criminal offence, and those who fail to report their activities could face criminal penalties as well.
What are the rights and protections of whistleblowers?
Under current law, whistleblowers are protected from prosecution, including from the government.
Under a number, including “disclosing confidential or private information, or giving information to anyone who is not entitled to receive it, to prevent it from being used for a purpose unlawful by law,” whistleblowers have the right not to be charged with a crime and to be afforded “due process of law.”
But whistleblowers can be charged and convicted under the Commonwealth’s Espionage Act, which carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.”
If you disclose information to someone you know is committing a criminal act, you may be liable to prosecution under the law,” Mr Williams said.
In a speech on Tuesday night, Mr Williams promised that the Government would be seeking to make sure that whistleblowers were protected.
He said the government would “ensure that all whistleblowers who are threatened with prosecution for their conduct are protected.”
Mr Williams said he would be consulting with all of the organisations and whistleblowers who he believes were the targets of this legislation, and that the process would be “open and transparent”.”
I will be consulting on the way in which whistleblowers can make representations to the Government about their experiences, including about the rights they have under the laws they are entitled to,” he said.