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‘We’re talking about highly classified documents’: Peter Dutton insists AFP raids don’t undermine press freedom

The Home Affairs Minister is insisting the recent police raids on the ABC and a News Corp journalist don’t infringe on the freedom of the press.

The Australian Federal Police raided the ABC’s Sydney offices on Wednesday over a 2017 story about the misconduct of Australian special forces in Afghanistan.

It marked the second operation in as many days targeting the media, after Newcorp journalist Annika Smethurst’s home was targeted in a separate raid on Tuesday over a story about a secret government plan to spy on Australians.

The raids have ignited a discussion about press freedom in Australia, and whether current laws need to be reviewed to give journalists more rights.

But Peter Dutton tells Ray Hadley that although the government supports the freedom of the press, no one has the right to break the law.

“Obviously it’s a serious breach of our laws when highly classified documents are leaked and the Secretary of the Defence Department makes the decision then to refer that to the federal police.

“From what I understand of the facts, we’re talking about highly classified national security documents, and they were leaked from the department. That’s a matter that obviously the Defence Department takes very seriously.”

But Mr Dutton says the government will consider taking a look at the legislation.

“All of us support freedom of the press.

“If the law needs to be modernised you can have that discussion.”

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