The re-election of conservative John Howard as prime minister was immediately followed by the preparation of new laws that could turn out to be a threat to freedom. The anti-terror law proposed by the government in September 2005 bans coverage of a police operation, referring to the detention of a suspect or invoking protection of sources in terrorism cases. Journalists face prison sentences of up to five years for violating the new law.
Australia does have a pluralist press, despite recurrent problems of media concentration, but it is also facing the challenges to press freedom inherent in a democracy. Two journalists on the Herald Sun are at risk of prison for refusing to reveal their sources. Several reporters were prevented from investigating conditions in prisons and detention camps for asylum-seekers.