Tony Abbott: media should not publish stories that ‘endanger national security’

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 08:  Tony Abbott speaks during the 2010 Coalition Campaign Launch at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre on August 8, 2010 in Brisbane, Australia. The Liberal Party campaign launch is scheduled for August 16th, five days before Australians cast their votes on August 21, 2010.  (Photo by Jonathan Wood/Getty Images)

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The Prime Minister has warned journalists to show 'sense of responsibility' as Coalition tries to push through tougher security laws.

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News that endangers the security of Australia “should not be fit to print”, Tony Abbott has said, after lawyers warned that planned legislation means journalists could face jail for reporting disclosures about certain spy operations.

The prime minister said the government must “get the balance right” and called on journalists to display “a sense of responsibility”.

National security legislation presented to the Senate on Thursday would expand the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio) and create a new offence punishable by five years in jail for “any person” who disclosed information relating to “special intelligence operations”.

The person would be liable for a 10-year term if the disclosure would “endanger the health or safety of any person or prejudice the effective conduct of a special intelligence operation”.

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