10.1       While the primary focus of secrecy offences is to prohibit the disclosure of information, many secrecy provisions also set out circumstances in which the disclosure of information is permitted. These are often framed as exceptions to an offence, but some legislation contains rules for the handling of information that stand alone and are not tied to an offence.

10.2       In Chapter 7, the ALRC discusses the exceptions which, in its view, should be included in the general secrecy offence. This chapter considers how authorised disclosure provisions in specific legislation can provide content to some of the recommended exceptions in the general secrecy offence.

10.3       Authorised disclosure provisions, whether framed as exceptions to a secrecy offence or as stand-alone information-handling rules, often reflect the need for the government to share information within and between governments, and in some instances, with the private sector. This chapter also considers when it may be appropriate to include exceptions in specific secrecy offences, and the form that those exceptions should take.[1]

[1]           The operation of particular information-sharing arrangements, such as memorandums of understanding, interagency guidelines and legislative information-handling regimes are discussed in Ch 14.