ABC May Take Federal Police To Court Over Leak Raid
The ABC is considering taking legal action over an Australian Federal Police raid on its Sydney headquarters, its chair has confirmed.
The public broadcaster was raided last week over stories published in 2017 alleging Australian soldiers may have carried out unlawful killings in Afghanistan that were based on leaked Defence papers.
The raid, along with another on the Canberra home of a News Corp Australia reporter, has sparked a political debate over the freedom of the press and protections for journalists.
The ABC head of investigative journalism John Lyons says the AFP took possession of about 100 documents, the contents of which were transferred to USB sticks and placed in sealed bags.
The ABC has two weeks to appeal the warrant, but an appeal is unsuccessful or does not go ahead the AFP would be allowed to access those document.
Asked whether the ABC was considering legal action for the return of the documents, ABC chair Ita Buttrose said the broadcaster had consulted lawyers about its option but had not "briefed anybody yet".
"At this point, we're really assessing the allegations to see what actions can be taken and we want to make sure that we're in the strongest available position to defend ourselves and also our journalists," Buttrose told ABC radio on Monday.
Matthew Collins QC, president of the Victorian Bar Council, confirmed to AAP he had been retained by the ABC but could not comment further.
Buttrose also said she would be meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison about the raid this week.
"I'm not going to tell the prime minister what to do but I will tell him how we feel at the ABC and how I feel," she said.
Buttrose has already told Communications Minister Paul Fletcher the raid on the ABC and the "sweeping nature" of the information sought was "clearly designed to intimidate".