On 4 March 2015, the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, asked the Committee to inquire into and report on the question of 'how to deal with the authorisation of a disclosure or use of telecommunications data for the purpose of determining the identity of a journalist's source'.
The inquiry followed a recommendation made by the Committee in its Advisory report on the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 that it conducts a separate review on this matter:
The Committee acknowledges the importance of recognising the principle of press freedom and the protection of
journalists' sources. The Committee considers this matter requires further consideration before a final recommendation can be made.
The Committee therefore recommends that the question of how to deal with the authorisation of a disclosure or use of telecommunications data for the purpose of determining the identity of a journalist's source be the subject of a separate review by this Committee.
The Committee would report back to Parliament within three months.
In undertaking this inquiry, the Committee intends to conduct consultations with media representatives, law enforcement and security agencies and the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor. The review will also consider international best practice, including data retention regulation in the United Kingdom.