Australian Law Reform Commission Releases Final Report on Government Secrecy
Entitled Secrecy Laws and Open Government in Australia, the report identified 506 secrecy provisions in 176 pieces of Commonwealth legislation, including 358 criminal secrecy offences. Many of the secrecy provisions were found to have a catch-all nature and to over-rely on criminal sanctions.
The Commission recommends that administrative and disciplinary frameworks should play the central role in ensuring that government information is handled appropriately. Criminal sanctions should only be imposed when disclosure of government information is likely to cause harm.