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Submissions sought: Committee to scrutinise the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has commenced an inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press. The inquiry was referred by the Attorney-General, The Hon Christian Porter MP, on 4 July 2019, for the PJCIS to inquire into the Terms of Reference. (Details inside.) This is a reaction to public and press reaction over the raid by the Australian federal police of the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst, to find out how she had come by a leaked plan to allow government spying on Australians. A warrant from an ACT magistrate gave police authority to search the home, computer and mobile phone of the journalist. News Corp Australia called this a "dangerous act of intimidation targeted at public interest reporting." Smethurst had authored an article about heads of defence and home affairs ministries in Australia having talked about "draconian new powers to allow the Australian Signals Directorate to spy on Australian citizens for the first time. Under the mooted plan, spies would be allowed to secretly access emails, bank accounts and text messages with approval from the defence and home affairs ministers." See inside for how you can contribute - by 26 July 2019. Consider how Australian governments have failed to protect Julian Assange in the name of a perceived right to conceal war crimes.

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