'The Australian federal police will be called before a parliamentary committee to explain its decision to launch raids on journalists, as a Labor senator calls for a massive expansion of parliamentary oversight of police and security agencies.
The Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who chairs parliament’s joint committee on law enforcement, said asking the AFP to justify the widely condemned raids would be “the first order of business” once MPs returned to Canberra in July.
On Thursday the Labor senator Doug Cameron told Guardian Australia the oversight powers of parliament’s committees were “third division and not A grade” compared with the US and UK, citing an inability to investigate the operation of security agencies.
Kelly, a conservative Liberal MP from New South Wales, said the bipartisan committee on law enforcement had scope to examine the activities and powers of the AFP and said the acting commissioner, Neil Gaughan, needed to appear to “give us an explanation as to why this occurred”.
“We would call in the commissioner of the AFP and he would have to be cross-examined by members of the committee,” Kelly told Guardian Australia.
“I understand there is a need for balance. No one likes to see journalists’ homes being raided but the security people that we have, and the AFP, have certain responsibilities as well.
“We don’t want to be in a position where we are prejudging anything, but that is what the committee is there for, to have that oversight.”
On Thursday Gaughan all but confirmed the journalists themselves were at risk of prosecution in the case of the ABC’s report of alleged unlawful killings by Australian troops and Annika Smethurst’s report of plans to extend powers to spy on Australian citizens.'
Read more: Australian federal police to be grilled over media raids when parliament returns
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