Australian Whistleblowers Could Face Prison

    The draft, entitled “National Security Legislation Amendment Bill”, provides for a new offence, liable to five years’ imprisonment, for anyone who discloses information without authorisation about “special intelligence operations”.

    The sentence can be increased to 10 years if the information “endangers the health or safety of any person or prejudices the effective conduct of a special intelligence operation”.

    Human rights violations can thus easily be covered up by the ASIO, especially since the classification of an operation as “special intelligence” would require only the consent of the security director-general or their deputy. The bill will also strengthen the surveillance powers of the agency.