Following the introduction this week by independents Andrew Wilkie MP and Senator Nick Xenophon of a bill seeking additional protection for journalists and their sources, Senator George Brandis has also introduced a similar bill for the Coalition.
The Coalition's bill, which was promised during the federal election campaign, is based on the New Zealand legislation model and seeks to amend the professional confidential privilege provisions of the Commonwealth Evidence Act.
The amendments seek to extend protection to communications between journalists and sources, restoring uniformity between the New South Wales and Commonwealth regimes, bringing the area of law more in line with equity courts' protection of confidential relationships.
"The Coalition is proud to take a stand in defence of freedom of speech and the protection of communications made in confidence," Brandis said yesterday.
This week's move to increase protection for journalists and their sources has received support from the Federal Government with Attorney-General Robert McClelland this week calling upon all the state and territory attorneys-general to adopt similar provisions at the state level.
The New Zealand based approach has been rejected by Western Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter, according to The West Australian.