• New Jersey (SSN 796) Sea Trials. 

Credit: HII
    New Jersey (SSN 796) Sea Trials. Credit: HII

The Australian Industry Gorup (Ai Group) has criticised the Safeguarding Australia's Military Secrets Act (SAMS Act), which entered into force on 6 May 2024, with group Chief Executive Innes Willox describing it as "illogical, unfair and unworkable."

"While the Safeguarding Australia's Military Secrets Act, or SAMS Act, aims to protect our national security, the Act is in practice illogical, unfair and unworkable," Willox said.

"The impact of this unguided missile of an Act on the defence industry, former Defence personnel (including veterans), and to Australia's trade position and international reputation is deeply concerning." 

"Offences under the Act do not need to have a connection with 'military secrets', and because working with a foreign 'government body' is defined so broadly, the legislation could easily work in absurd ways," Willox added.

"Bizarrely, this offence under the Act does not apply to other high level clearance holders, including intelligence agencies, other government departments, ministerial staff, or defence contractors and consultants. So, the administrative officer with a low-level clearance will need a foreign work authorisation, but intelligence officers will not, nor will consultants who hold a top secret clearances."

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