MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) - The parliament of Australia has expanded the scope of the country's anti-terror legislation by introducing amendments that speculate, among other things, a 10-year imprisonment towards illustration of unauthorized intelligence information, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Wednesday.
"This is not, as has been wrongly suggested, about preventing the release of information that might simply embarrass the government of the day or expose it to criticism. This is about providing a necessary and proportionate limitation on the communication of information that relates to the core business of intelligence agencies," Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan was quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald as saying.
According to the new Australian laws, journalists communicating or publishing unauthorized intelligence-related information will face a 10-year imprisonment.
The new laws also prescribe the ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organization) greater surveillance and search powers, such as access to computers and examination of postal deliveries, The Australian stated. Attempts to identify intelligence officers will also be subject to increased penalties.
Meanwhile, these laws have come in for criticism, with Australian politicians raising concerns and fears.
"At some point in the future we'll have spies kicking in doors and using force with no police alongside them and that is another step towards a police state," Andrew Wilkie, a renowned politician in Australia, was quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald as saying.
In the meantime, Australian Labor MP Melissa Parke stated that she did not see any inadequacies that would have prompted the government to introduce the amendments.