ABC lodges Federal Court application over AFP raids and demands return of seized documents

In the next stage of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids saga, the ABC has lodged an application in the Federal Court of Australia to set aside the warrant which authorised the raids and to demand the return of seized files.

The decision comes after ABC chair Ita Buttrose met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to discuss the raids, and as ABC boss David Anderson is set to appear at the National Press Club alongside Nine’s Hugh Marks and News Corp’s Michael Miller to propose legislative changes for press freedom.

In a statement posted to the ABC website, managing director David Anderson confirmed the broadcaster had asked the Federal Court for a declaration that the warrant used by the AFP was invalid.

“The ABC is asking the Court for a declaration that the warrant was invalid on several technical grounds that underline the fundamental importance of investigative journalism and protection of confidential sources. We are also challenging the constitutional validity of the warrant on the basis that it hinders our implied freedom of political communication,” read the statement.

“The ABC is also seeking a permanent injunction to prevent the AFP accessing the material seized and to return it to us immediately. It is currently being held by the AFP in sealed envelopes.”

Anderson with ABC chair Ita Buttrose

Anderson said the ABC has taken these actions as a way to defend its journalists and the work they do. All avenues would be explored to seek legislative changes to protect the media’s ability to report in the interest of the public, said Anderson.

According to the statement, a full hearing is expected in late July or early August.

“Collectively and individually, we are committed to working constructively with the Government to address weaknesses in the legal protections for journalists and whistleblowers and to push for meaningful, urgent reform,” said Anderson in the statement.


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