Government - Morrison Denies Role In ABC Raid
Labor is throwing shade on Prime Minister Scott Morrison's claim that he and his government had no role in the Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on the ABC yesterday and a Newscorp reporter a day earlier.
The AFP showed up in the Sydney headquarters of the ABC seeking documents related to "The Afghan Files" series of stories in 2017, which revealed wrongdoing and abuses committed by Australian troops in the Afghanistan War. Before that, Federal agents raided the home of of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, who had reported on secret plans to allow government spying.
"First of all let me say that my government is absolutely committed to freedom of the press, secondly these are matters that were being pursued by the AFP operationally at complete arm's length from the government, not in the knowledge of the government, not at the instigation of government ministers," Morrison said on Thursday. "I can understand, particularly for the journalists involved, this would have been very upsetting and a very anxious and concerning event," he added.
Labor is rubbishing that excuse.
"What we can't have is these hollow, hollow words from Mr. Morrison saying that he believes in press freedom when these raids are happening right now in Australia," Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus told ABC's Radio National. "It's the government which referred these matters in the first place. It's the government which made a decision that these leaks - not all the other leaks that occur within government administration - warranted investigation."
Morrison claims the referrals came from departmental secretaries, and were submitted before he became prime minister.