Whistleblowers Australia denounces new “foreign interference” laws
21 July 2018
Whistleblowers Australia is one of that numerous organisations that lodged submissions to the Australian parliament opposing the new espionage and foreign interference laws, which passed with bipartisan support late last month.
A voluntary organisation that champions those seeking to expose government and business corruption, its submission denounced the laws and existing “terrorism” legislation.
The submission said the laws “discard longstanding legal principles” and “criminalise benign conduct, social justice concerns and ethical professional obligation; stifle political debate and association … and reinforce the ability of government to protect itself—in secret—from the consequences of its own sometimes illegal acts.”
Whistleblowers Australia president Cynthia Kardell spoke with the World Socialist Web Site this week about the measures and their political and social consequences. The following discussion has been edited.
Richard Phillips: How will the new laws impact on your work?
Cynthia Kardell: Our organisation exists to help whistleblowers assist themselves. If people can’t talk to us, or speak to and provide information to a journalist without being under threat of going to jail if that became known, then it makes the business of talking to anyone very difficult indeed. We’re in the age of digital encryption but I suspect that we’ll become a little bit old-fashioned in the way we go about things so that we don’t leave a digital footprint. It might be a return to old becoming new again.
RP: Was your organisation shocked at the broad-ranging and unprecedented character of these measures?