Another area in which the Government has been all talk and no action is journalists’ shield laws. The introduction of such laws was a Labor promise in 2007. The Bill which the Government introduced only provided for defence which was in fact narrower than the existing provisions of the New South Wales Evidence Act. The legislation was so inadequate that faced with a storm of criticism the Government abandoned it and there has been no action since..... Recognising that the public interest is advanced by a better informed community an incoming Coalition Government will introduce a new shield laws bill, the substantive provisions have already been drafted enacting a rebuttable presumption against disclosure along the lines of the regime operating in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
While newspaper journalists rank 27 out of 30 professions (TV reporters 20th?) for honesty and ethics, as reported in the Roy Morgan research in June, and there are many fine exceptions, they and media organisations are hardly in a position of strength in arguing the 'trust us we're journalists" line in seeking a special position under the law. But enough politicians may finally be prepared to grit their teeth and provide an adequate and balanced approach to protection of journalist sources.