Posted September 21, 2018 07:27:59The Federal Government’s information-collection model is the latest in a series of attempts by the Government to minimise the role of whistleblowers, lawyers and academics in the country’s security and intelligence agencies.
The model, which came into effect in April 2018, is designed to protect the privacy of Australians, including people with sensitive information, but critics say it has failed to meet those obligations.
Key points:The model is used by the Australian Federal Police, the Federal Department of Defence and other organisationsThe model’s key provisions apply to:The National Security AgencyThe Australian Federal Government and the Australian Security Intelligence OrganisationAs part of its attempt to ensure that whistleblowers are not silenced, the Government introduced a new set of confidentiality obligations that apply to agencies and agencies of the Australian Government and Australian Security Agency.
“The government has a responsibility to protect Australians’ privacy,” Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said.
“If the model is so effective at keeping Australians safe, then the Government must be doing the same thing to ensure the same protections are being afforded to whistleblowers and other Australians who speak up.”
In the past few years, the Australian National Audit Office has found the Government’s model of information security to be ineffective and ineffective at protecting the public’s interests.
“I think we’ve seen an escalation of efforts by the government to minimising the role and impact of whistleblowers,” Mr Ludlam told reporters.
“What is very concerning about this model is that it’s based on the premise that they’re not in a position to make the public aware of this,” he said.
The Government is also seeking to weaken the role that the public can play in oversight of the security services, by creating a framework for the Director of Public Prosecutions to oversee information-protection breaches.
The new regime would also allow the Government and agencies to create new “inspectors” within the intelligence agencies who would be allowed to access information and make complaints about breaches.
“A lot of the information that comes into the system is going to be gathered by the agencies,” Mr Hodge said.
Mr Hodge acknowledged that the Government was seeking to make changes to the model in order to protect whistleblowers.
“We know from the past that the Australian public are generally a little bit cautious about these kinds of things,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“They don’t like being dragged into the process, so we’ve been talking to a number of organisations about how they can create these new models that will help minimise that risk.”
That’s what we’re talking about.
“The Government’s new approach is a departure from the approach of the previous Government, which in early 2018 began to publish data on the number of cases brought against the Australian Defence Force, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Department of Fisheries and Environment under the new model.
In a statement at the time, Attorney-General George Brandis said the new guidelines would help to prevent whistleblower-related cases from being lost to the bureaucracy.”
It’s a clear signal that the government is taking an interest in protecting the privacy and the rights of the people in the workplace,” Mr Brandis told reporters at the Canberra press conference.”
As part, we’re putting in place some very strong safeguards and guidelines to protect privacy and to help ensure that when information is disclosed to the public, it’s properly disclosed.
“The Attorney-Gen said the Government would be updating the framework to better protect whistleblowers’ privacy.”
So we are working very closely with the government, the Attorney-Admiral’s Department, the Department for Law Enforcement and the Public Prosecution Service to update the framework so that it is clear and understandable that people should have a right to know about the types of information that they are giving to the agencies and other agencies, and how that information is being used,” Mr Smedley told reporters on Monday.”
These are not things that we would want to have in a model that is not based on good information, and that’s why we’ve made the changes we’ve done to protect our whistleblowers.