- damage the security, defence or international relations of the Commonwealth;
- prejudice the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of criminal offences;
- endanger the life or physical safety of any person; or
- prejudice the protection of public safety."
The ALRC identified 506 secrecy provisions in 176 pieces of legislation, including 358 distinct criminal offences. Professor Croucher summarised the commission's recommendations as presentingSecrecy laws that impose ‘extreme’ obligations of confidentiality on individuals handling government information—and the prosecution of public servants for the unauthorised disclosure of such information—can sit uneasily with the Australian Government’s commitment to open and accountable government. Secrecy laws have also drawn sustained criticism on the basis that they unreasonably interfere with the right to freedom of expression.
"a new and principled framework for secrecy provisions, striking a fair balance between the public interest in open and accountable government and adequate protection for Commonwealth information that should legitimately be kept confidential."An indication of interest from the government in addressing the 19th century aspects of s 70, and the incoherence and anomalies in existing laws concerning secrecy and openness is well overdue.