25 September 2023

Police defend raids on journalists

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The Australian Federal Police has issued official statements defending its execution of search warrants in Canberra and Sydney this week, seeking information held by journalists potentially in breach of the Crimes Act 1914.

Stating that there was no link between the two incidents, the AFP said they related to separate allegations of publishing classified material — “an extremely serious matter that has the potential to undermine Australia’s national security”.

In a statement, the AFP said it received two separate referrals from Agency heads in relation to the matters.

“The AFP’s actions have been independent and impartial at all times,” it said.

“The AFP’s role is to investigate breaches of Commonwealth criminal law. When the AFP receives referrals it assesses them for criminality and does not make value judgements on the issue.

“It identifies whether there have been any contraventions of Commonwealth law, and evidence as to whether the offence has been committed or otherwise.”

It said the Minister for Home Affairs was not notified prior to the execution of the warrants.

In separate statements the AFP confirmed it had executed a search warrant at a residence in the ACT suburb of Kingston on 4 June but no arrests were made.

The following day it executed a search warrant on the Ultimo premises of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and again, no arrests were made.

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