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Secrecy Offences in Part 5.6 of the Criminal Code

The Law Council of Australia provided a submission to the fifth Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (the INSLM), Mr Jake Blight in relation to his review of the secrecy offences in Part 5.6 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (the Criminal Code). 

The Law Council continues to accept the need for carefully drafted and proportionate secrecy offences that are directed to protect a narrow range of essential public interests. In this regard, the Law Council maintains its support for the development and amendment of Commonwealth secrecy provisions in a manner consistent with the Australian Law Reform Commission’s 2009 report: Secrecy Laws and Open Government in Australia (the ALRC’s 2009 Secrecy Laws and Open Government Report).1 The overriding recommendation of that report, is that general secrecy offences should require a harm-based approach to ensure that criminal sanctions are ‘reserved for behaviour that harms, is reasonably likely to harm or intended to harm essential public interests’.2

Read the full submission below.


1 Australian Law Reform Commission, Secrecy Laws and Open Government in Australia (Report No 112, 11 December 2009).
2 Ibid, Recommendation 5–1 23.

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