It has been revealed that Qantas handed over the flight details of a senior ABC journalist to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
This came as part of an ongoing investigation by the AFP into classified files being leaked to the public broadcaster, which led to the ABC’s ‘Afghan Files’ story in 2017.
Qantas was requested to provide the travel details of ABC senior reporter Dan Oakes, who was involved in the story, which later prompted a raid on the offices of the ABC’s Ultimo offices last month, as reported by B&T (Travel Weekly’s sister publication).
In a document obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald, the AFP indicated it was building a case against Oakes.
Qantas obliged following a formal request process and shared the details of two flights made by Oakes in June and September of 2016.
The request for information was made by the AFP prior to the raids. It is understood that information requests are only made about passengers who are subject to criminal investigations.
“Like all airlines, Qantas receives numerous requests for information from law enforcement agencies and we comply with these requests in accordance with our legal obligations and privacy legislation,” a Qantas spokesperson told Travel Weekly.
Travel Weekly understands that the AFP did not inform Qantas about why the information was requested, details of the investigation or the occupation of the passenger.
The revelation comes just days after B&T reported that a conglomerate of Australian media companies had described a meeting with Porter and communications minister Paul Fletcher regarding the recent raids as “constructive”.
ABC managing director David Anderson last month said the broadcaster had asked the court to declare the warrant used during the raids as invalid, on the grounds of “the fundamental importance of investigative journalism and protection of confidential sources”.
The request to Qantas was made roughly six months after former military lawyer David McBride was arrested for leaking the information to the ABC.