Human rights group backs doctors on whistleblowing

A human rights group has swung behind doctors who want the right to disclose what happens in detention centres.

Doctors for Refugees has filed a High Court challenge to the secrecy provisions in the Australian Border Force Act, contending that the laws inappropriately curtail people’s freedom to participate in political communication around conditions and care in detention.

Liberty Victoria welcomed this critical development. 

The harsh laws were the subject of last year's Young Liberty for Law Reform Whistleblower Report, which detailed the practical, legal and cultural barriers to whistleblowing in offshore detention centres.

Liberty Victoria President George Georgiou SC said, "This week we have seen the shocking consequences of a secret detention culture. We need whistleblowers to shine a light on on what is happening in our name. 

The secrecy surrounding Australia's immigration and border security regime has gone too far.  What we don’t know is hurting people seeking asylum and hurting our democracy. It's time for reform to wind back this culture of secrecy."