In Parliament yesterday, the State Liberals expressed their opposition to the Weatherill Labor Government’s restrictive court reporting laws and have drafted amendments to remove this aspect from the Bill.
Attorney-General John Rau introduced the Statutes Amendment (Attorney-General’s Portfolio) Bill 2016; one aspect of this Bill would make it much harder for journalists and third parties to access information from the Courts in criminal matters.
“If passed, this part of the Bill will severally impact access to information,” said Shadow Attorney- General Vickie Chapman.
“The Courts already have the ability to protect sensitive information through the use of suppression orders, which are already frequently used and provide adequate protection.”
The new law proposed by the Weatherill Labor Government will require a person seeking information to formally lodge an application and wait until the prosecution and defence have put submissions in respect of the application.
“This is a blatant attempt by the Weatherill Labor Government and the Attorney-General to control the press and what information is made available to the public,” said Ms Chapman.
“The State Liberals will continue to fight for the freedom of the press, which is an important part of holding governments to account.
“Protection against the abuse of executive power requires an independent judiciary, the democratic Parliament and freedom of the press.
“This is just another example of a sneaky Labor Government, extending South Australia’s mantle as the “Secret State”.”