Mayor Mick Curran is correct - breaching government confidentiality can bring severe penalties. And these penalties are being used to silence whistleblowers.
Mayor Mick Curran is correct - breaching government confidentiality can bring severe penalties. And these penalties are being used to silence whistleblowers.

Gympie mayor makes good point on press freedom

IN his column yesterday Mayor Mick Curran pointed out public servants can face severe legal action for speaking about confidential items.

In doing so, he highlighted the need for a key change outlined in the Right to Know campaign besides loosening secrecy laws: better protection for public sector whistleblowers.

A popular argument being made is journalism shouldn’t be immune to the law.

The public has a right to know what governments are doing in Australia’s name.
The public has a right to know what governments are doing in Australia’s name.

It has merit, but naively exists in a world where governments only make good laws.

Reality is different.

RELATED

Sometimes, governments make stupid laws.

Sometimes they make laws specifically to cover things up.

And sometimes a well meaning law is manipulated by those wishing to avoid scrutiny or avoid embarrassment.

Freedom of Information is a good example.

Two-thirds of FOI applications denied by governments are being overturned on appeal.

The Australian media is pushing for an end to the growing level of government secrecy in Australia.
The Australian media is pushing for an end to the growing level of government secrecy in Australia.

Either governments are trying to bury inconvenient truths behind a wall of secrecy, or they’re failing miserably to understand and interpret the law.

Neither is a good look.

So I welcome Cr Curran’s support for this nationwide campaign.

I look forward to our State and Federal MPs adding theirs to the fight too.