Editor's note

Late on Friday afternoon, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton issued a directive to the Australian Federal Police, basically telling them to lay off journalists when investigating leaks. As Denis Muller writes, the political sensitivity of the climb-down was evident from the fact it was put out on a Friday afternoon.

It comes in the wake of backlash against high-profile raids on a News Corp journalist and the ABC, met with outrage from the public and unity from the heads of Australia’s three main news organisations. A parliamentary inquiry into press freedom will begin its hearings this week.

But while these directions may mean journalists are given a little more room to move, whistleblowers are being offered no such relief- the hunt for them goes on.

Amanda Dunn

Section Editor: Politics + Society

Top stories

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton appears to have backed down from his previous hardline position on AFP raids and press freedom. AAP/Sam Mooy

Dutton directive gives journalists more breathing space, but not whistleblowers

Denis Muller, University of Melbourne

While the ministerial direction represents a genuflection in the direction of press freedom, it provides nothing by way of protection for whistleblowers.

The chairman of the powerful parliamentary committee on intelligence and security, Andrew Hastie, issued a warning about China’s rise last week. Lukas Coch/AAP

View from The Hill: It’s not in the ‘national interest’ for the backbench to shut up about China

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The government is trying to shut down backbench contributions in the name of the “national interest”, but it is more an exercise of attempted control in its own interest.

Once qualified, men who did a popular engineering-related VET course often worked in high-paid fields such as construction or manufacturing. from shutterstock.com

If you have a low ATAR, you could earn more doing a VET course than a uni degree – if you’re a man

Andrew Norton, Grattan Institute

Students with lower ATARs generally have lower lifetime earnings. But a Grattan Institute report found low ATAR men could earn more doing a VET course than a bachelor degree in their chosen field.

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