Australia

Payne's free press speech riles Labor

Labor has slammed Foreign Minister Marise Payne for hypocrisy over freedom of the press. (AAP)

Foreign Minister Marise Payne is set to promote the importance of press freedom during a speech abroad, but Labor says she needs to back her words with action.

Labor has accused the foreign minister of hypocrisy as she prepares to promote the importance of press freedom while at an international conference.

Marise Payne will join international counterparts, journalists and civil groups at the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London on Wednesday.

Senator Payne is expected to call for a "sensible balance" in Australia between protecting the national interest and the public's right to know.

She'll emphasise freedom of expression as a basic human right and fundamental element of democracy.

But Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman says Senator Payne needs to show her commitment by taking action back in Australia.

"Labor joins the foreign minister in declaring our clear support for the protection of journalists and the right to freedom of expression," she said in a statement.

"However, it is now time for the minister's words overseas to be backed up by action from her government at home."

Senator Payne is also expected to condemn the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The international conference comes amid intense scrutiny about controversial Australian Federal Police raids on two media outlets last month.

Federal police raided the Sydney headquarters of the ABC, and the Canberra home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, over separate stories based on leaked government information.

It was also revealed this week that in relation to the ABC report, the AFP had requested ABC reporter Dan Oakes' private travel records from Qantas.

A federal parliamentary inquiry into press freedom is now under way, with the committee grappling with how raids on journalists are authorised.

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